Switzerland indicts ex-Gambian minister for crimes against humanity


According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the Swiss attorney general has charged Gambia’s former interior minister with crimes against humanity committed under the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh.

The Attorney General’s Office has accused Ousman Sonko of supporting, taking part in, and failing to prevent “systematic and generalized attacks” as part of a repressive campaign by security forces against Jammeh’s opponents.

Sonko’s attorney was unable to be contacted for comment.

Sonko was Interior Minister from 2006 until 2016 when he resigned and sought asylum in Sweden before going to Switzerland.

In January 2017, he was held by Swiss police on the idea of universal jurisdiction, which allows for the prosecution of the most serious offenses regardless of where they were committed.

Sonko has been arrested in Switzerland since then.

The matter will be heard by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court at a later date. It will be the country’s second trial for crimes against humanity.

TRIAL International’s director, Philip Grant, acknowledged his organization’s delight at the progress.

“We hope that this will generate momentum and that the trial will eventually put pressure on Equatorial Guinea to extradite Jammeh,” he said. Following political turmoil in Gambia in 2017, the former president fled to the country.

Human rights activists in Gambia were relieved to learn about the indictment.

Sheriff Mohammed Kijera, a spokesperson for victims of human rights crimes in The Gambia, said the indictment would set a precedent for the Gambian government to “take its responsibility to bring Yaya Jammeh and his henchmen to face justice.”

According to Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist, “Today we rejoice that finally, justice has caught up with one of the key perpetrators against Gambians, whose victims continue to live in pain and misery.”

The people of Gambia, a tiny West African country with a population of around 2.5 million, are still suffering as a result of Jammeh’s more than two decades of despotism and reported crimes. Jammeh has denied the allegations leveled against him.


Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.