Soldiers Enter Gambia As New President Barrow Prepares To Take Over….
Posted On 25/01/2017
Gambia’s capital on Sunday was awaiting the arrival of the country’s new leader and an era of democracy, hours after the authoritarian ruler of 22 years flew into exile with an extraordinary set of assurances from the international community.
Even as new President Adama Barrow remained in neighboring Senegal awaiting a triumphant return after a whirlwind political crisis sparked by his December election win, former leader Yahya Jammeh appeared to be guaranteed the right to come home. A joint declaration issued shortly after Jammeh left by the United Nations, African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS said the bodies will work with Barrow’s government to make sure Jammeh, his family and his close associates are not the target of punishment. But a top Barrow adviser, Mai Ahmad Fatty, said the declaration didn’t have the new leader’s approval. ‘I was very shocked to learn from Facebook that the document we had rejected was already posted at the websites of both ECOWAS and the AU,’ he said Sunday. ‘Gambia will neither respect nor honor what was contained in that joint declaration. We don’t consider it legally binding on us.’ Although the declaration was written to provide Jammeh with maximum protection, ‘it doesn’t give him an amnesty, and under international law in fact you can’t amnesty certain crimes like torture and massive or systematic political killings’, international rights lawyer Reed Brody said in an email. ‘Depending where Jammeh ends up, though, the real obstacles to holding him accountable will be political,’ Brody wrote. Jammeh’s dramatic about-face on his election loss to Barrow, at first conceding and then challenging the vote, appeared to be the final straw for the international community, which had been alarmed by his moves in recent years to declare an Islamic republic, leave the Commonwealth and leave the ICC. With global backing, Barrow was sworn in Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Senegal for his safety, hours after Jammeh’s mandate expired at midnight.