Guernica 37
Guernica 37

The Point: “Campaign seeks Gambia’s rights violators based in Europe, US”

Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers has become part of a victim-led international coalition to seek justice for international crimes and human rights abuses committed in The Gambia under Jammeh’s rule. Sanna Camara, from the Gambian newspaper The Point, has interviewed Almudena Bernabéu and reported about Guernica’s vision of transnational justice in this shared effort. According to Bernabéu, the coalition will play a very important role, as it would help prosecutors to collect evidence, access to victims, and even “gather inter-Euro ties depending on who the perpetrators are”: 

Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers has joined coalition of human rights groups and association of Jammeh victims to investigate members of the Jammeh government, who fled into Europe, US and other countries.

The organisation, with offices in New York, London and Madrid forming an international coalition campaign for justice for victims of crimes committed under the Jammeh dictatorship is a new approach to international justice crusade.

“We are looking into investigating members of the Jammeh government, who [perpetrated crimes and] fled into Europe, US and other countries… We can do that simultaneously by coming together in the form of this coalition,” Almudena Barnabeu, international lawyer and organisation’s co-founder, said.

“We trying to look at this trans nationally, so that people in The Gambia do not feel they are alone in their fight for justice,” Barnabeu said.

Asked what will be the next step after locating these perpetrators of crimes based abroad, Ms Bernabeu said she will not be in position to give details but that these suspects are in countries that have the legal ability, whether a full universal jurisdictions or other legal provisions, that allows the countries, on behalf of the victims to be able to open investigations into those cases.

These efforts can be pursued with collaboration of victims in some of them, or directly through the prosecutor’s or their attorney general’s offices.

“It is sometimes hard, which is why I think we (the coalition) will play a very important role… It is for those prosecutions’ unit in these countries to seek out the evidence, have access to victims abroad, gather inter-Euro ties depending on who the perpetrators are; which cases are more important, which victims have more relevant information – that’s the contribution that we can do as lawyers of victims,” she said.

Her organisation, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers promotes transnational accountability through litigation in national courts and other strategies to enforce human rights protection and international criminal norms in an effort to address human rights violations and prevent their recurrence.

“It’s not going to be difficult to achieve justice,” she said, citing the example of Switzerland, which she argued, may require somethings legally that another country may not.

“But with the investigations, the evidence, the work they would be doing with victims, all of that will be able to help in every niche of other investigations we are opening in Guernica 37, or Trial International in different countries.”

“We provide highly technical advice and representation to assist individuals, civil society groups and governmental institutions in designing and implementing strategies to ensure accountability and redress for international crimes,” Barnabeu said.


This article, by Sanna Camara, was originally published on 24th October 2017 at The Point.

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