Transitional justice in Africa: comparative analysis of truth commissions in the Gambia and Sierra Leone
A global, hyper-connected generation is confronted by instantaneous and worldwide exchanges of ideas between men and women. The methods used and the arguments made are. Therefore, victim-focused as they trigger a series of questions meant to at best clarify misconceptions and expose the ills of the past regime beyond the single narrative of just "another personal story." The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa has since Independence – a little more than half a century ago seen only three (3) Presidents. The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is a truth commission in The Gambia to investigate former president Yahya Jammeh's presidential era from 1994 to 2016. The commission "was established by an act of parliament to investigate and establish an impartial historical record of human right violations, but also to consider reparations for the victims of abuses, promote reconciliation and promote non-reoccurrence" dubbed "NEVER AGAIN." During conflict or authoritarianism, men and women often find themselves in human rights violations. These violations can have unprecedented consequences for victims as perpetrators target them in their respective societies. Victims often suffer physical and sexual violations and face other transgressions that subsequently make them vulnerable and affect them in unique ways. These violations can also be in the form of disappearance or killings of loved ones, socioeconomic discrimination, transposition, and so on. Due to structural inequalities and inadequacies in many societies, many victims often find it challenging to seek justice. Even where transitional justice mechanisms are implemented, these mechanisms can still be purblind to victims' specific needs, and their approach to justice can neglect the power imbalances in their respective societies. Transitional justice rejoins human rights violations during Jammeh's authoritarian rule in the Gambia. Sierra Leone has been agonized by civil war since 1991. During this period, the rebel groups forcibly recruited many women, children, and young men to help them fight with the military forces. When his government got re-installed, President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah commenced a reconciliation mission while initiating a program to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate more than 45,000 combatants. Transitional justice was also introduced, and a truth commission was set up. It is critical to ensure that victims get justice, eliminate women's marginalization, and prevent future violations against victims of civil war in Sierra Leone and authoritarian rule in the Gambia. It is also essential that transitional justice relevantly assess and address all causes and consequences of all injustices against victims. In other to effectively address past wrongs perpetrated by the former president of the Gambia and in other to build sustainable and positive peace, it is essential to address the needs of all who are involved, and while investigations are going on, it is significant that the approach is victim-focused.