Victims of Jammeh-Era Abuses in Gambia Turn to Overseas Courts for Justice

Victims of Jammeh-Era Abuses in Gambia Turn to Overseas Courts for Justice
Gambian President Adama Barrow arrives at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, March 15, 2017 (AP Photo by Thibault Camus).

DAKAR, Senegal—Michael Sang Correa was indicted in federal court in Denver, Colorado, in July, for allegedly torturing multiple people in Gambia in 2006. The indictment is the first for a member of the Junglers, a secretive death squad used by former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to arrest, torture, disappear and kill scores of his perceived opponents. His trial is expected to begin next year.

Correa’s victims and their family members are relieved that he is finally facing justice. However, experts say that Correa’s trial in the U.S., rather than in Gambia, underscores a lack of political will among Gambian leaders for prosecuting Jammeh-era officials. Until the political winds change in Gambia, survivors of Jammeh’s atrocities say they will continue to look abroad for the justice they feel is being denied at home.

After 22 years of Jammeh’s repressive rule, Gambians’ thirst for change was palpable when they delivered an upset win to his opponent, Adama Barrow, in the 2016 election. When Jammeh initially refused to relinquish power, a coalition of troops from nearby West African countries massed on the border in January 2017 to force him from office, and Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea.

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