The Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique supports the Gambian victims seeking justice
(Banjul, October 21st, 2017) – It is of paramount importance that victims of Yahya Jammeh’s regime bring their former dictator and the ones who bear the greatest responsibility of the most serious crimes to justice, said the Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique. The Foundation just participated to a strategic session in Banjul launching an international campaign to bring Yahya Jammeh and his leading accomplices to justice.
Several non-governmental organizations were present to listen to the victims and survivors’ requests. The campaign, which will be led by Gambian actors, including the victims’ association and the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), is supported by several international organizations like Human Rights Watch, TRIAL International, Article 19, Guernica 37, Aids-Free World, EG Justice and the Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique.
“This campaign sends a strong message: no African leader suspected of crimes against humanity should think that he is above the law or out of reach of his victims,” said Mohamed Bouamatou, president of the Foundation. “The Foundation is ready to support movements led by victims of serious crimes aiming at bringing to justice their former dictator. We will struggle so that never again in Africa we can see those crimes and pillage committed by small clans in power”.
Jammeh fled The Gambia in January 2017 for exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing presidential elections to current president Adama Barrow. In 22 years of autocratic rule, killings, “disappearances,” torture, intimidation, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrests to suppress dissent and preserve its grip on power were committed.
The objective of the Campaign is the fair trial for alleged crimes of Yahya Jammeh, as well as of those who bear the greatest responsibility in the abuses of his government. The Coalition said it would also seek to strengthen the voice of the victims in Gambia’s current transitional process and to help the Gambian government recover Jammeh’s assets.
On top of a long-term financial support, the Foundation will participate to the investigations on mass crimes and will help the Gambian authorities to identify, freeze and collect assets which are alleged to have been plundered by former president Yahya Jammeh. These embezzlements, which are likely to have run the country into debt, penalize the next generations.
“Rarely have blood crimes and economic crimes seemed to be intertwined in such an extent that during Yahya Jammeh’s regime”, said William Bourdon, president of Sherpa and trustee of the Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique. “These assets, which are alleged to be the products of corruption and human rights violations, must be given back to the Gambian people”.
The Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique is a Belgian philanthropic organization which received its charitable status by royal decree in 2015. It was created by a Mauritanian philanthropist, Mohamed Bouamatou and lawyers specialized in Human rights law. The foundation supports non-profit projects for Africa that contribute to reinforcing the Rule of Law, democracy and equal opportunity by fighting against corruption and impunity.
“It is totally new that an African philanthropist actively backs a Human rights NGOs campaign fighting for criminal prosecutions against a former dictator”, said Henri Thulliez, director of the Foundation, and who participated to the session in Banjul. “Through his support to the victims of Yahyah Jammeh, Mohamed Bouamatou shows that it is time for African businessmen to support these civic movements struggling against impunity and authors of embezzlement of funds.”
The Foundation financially supports Human Rights Watch, TRIAL International, the IHRDA and the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations.