Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Germany arrests alleged accomplice of former Gambian president Jammeh

Published on: 17 March, 2021

On Tuesday Germany arrested a former member of the Gambian armed forces who is suspected of having committed crimes against humanity including murder and attempted murder under former President Yahya Jammeh.

The man, named as Bai L is accused of being part of a military unit that carried out murders at the behest of Jammeh. According to the arrest warrant he belonged to the so-called Patrol Unit of the Gambian military also known as the ‘Junglers’.

Jammeh ruled the West African state for more than two decades. The Gambia has appointed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with human rights violations and crimes committed during Jammeh’s rule.

Bai L is accused of having been the driver of the Patrol Unit between 2003 and 2006 and having driven unit members to attack sites. He is also accused of stealing millions of dollars from the state’s coffers.

According to German prosecutors Jammeh was involved in three ‘liquidation’ operations: in December 2003 he allegedly drove other members of the unit to the shooting of a lawyer in the capital Banjul.

Universal jurisdiction

Speaking to Al Jazeera, human rights lawyer Reed Brody who was instrumental in bringing Jammeh to justice says: ‘It is an important step for Gambian justice and for victims. Bai L is the third accomplice of Jammeh to be detained abroad using the long-arm legal rule of universal jurisdiction.’

Jammeh was communicating with the Gambian Press regarding the Junglers’ killing of 59 West African migrants.

Reed says: ‘This is an unusual case because Bai L was at first living openly in Germany and actually talking to the press and investigators about his participation in the crimes of the Junglers.’