Gambia Victims Centre has angrily reacted to former president Yahya Jammeh’s demand to return home, as the centre says the government would fail if it allows Jammeh to return home without being arrested and prosecuted.

Last Friday, Jammeh, who is in exile in Equatorial Guinea urged his party supporters to peacefully protest for his return in a leaked WhatsApp audio.

But a centre of his victims which was established after his defeat in the 2016 presidential election said in a statement on Monday that: “if former president Jammeh is authorised to return to The Gambia without being arrested, charged and prosecuted for his crimes or transferred to another state for him to face justice, it would be a big failure on the part of the Government of The Gambia to uphold its duty to the people of Gambia, as well as its international obligation to provide an effective remedy to victims as well as holding perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.”

According to the statement, “it will send a bad message to the victims of the 22 year Jammeh rule, who have gone through so much within that period, and within the transitional justice process having to deal with the repercussions of publicly telling their stories.

“Therefore, if former president Jammeh steps foot in The Gambia he must be arrested to face justice before a national, regional or international body,” the statement added.

The Centre reaffirmed their commitment to working with relevant partners to facilitate justice to victims, through national, regional and international mechanisms to ensure that peace continues to prevail in the country, adding “not only must justice be done it must also be seen to be done”.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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