Verdict in Gambia Atrocity Case


(Berlin, November 28, 2023) – A German court in the city of Celle is expected to deliver a verdict on November 30, 2023, in the first trial in Germany for crimes committed in The Gambia, Gambian and international civil society groups said today in releasing a question and answer document about the trial.

The groups are: the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Gambian Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Rose Lokissim Association, the Solo Sandeng Foundation, and TRIAL International.

This trial is possible because Germany recognizes universal jurisdiction over certain serious crimes under international law, allowing for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes no matter where they were committed and regardless of the nationality of the suspects or victims.

The trial concerns Bai L., an alleged member of the “Junglers,” a paramilitary unit also known as the “Patrol Team,” which was set up by then-president Yahya Jammeh in the mid-1990s. Jammeh’s 22-year rule was marked by systematic oppression and widespread human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and sexual violence against actual and perceived opponents.

German prosecutors accuse Bai L. of being a Junglers driver involved in the attempted murder of Ousman Sillah, a lawyer; the murder of Deyda Hydara, a journalist; the attempted murder of Ida Jagne and Nian Sarang Jobe, who worked with the independent newspaper Hydara; and the murder of a former Gambian soldier, Dawda Nyassi.

The verdict in the Bai L. case represents a major step in the search for justice for years of abuses committed under Jammeh’s rule in The Gambia, the groups said. The Bai L. trial reinforces the role that governments like Germany can play in advancing justice for atrocities committed abroad under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Civil society groups will hold a news conference online on Thursday, November 30 after the verdict is issued – scheduled for 3:30 pm CET – at the following link:

To read the question-and-answer document, please visit here

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Dem Unrecht das Recht entgegensetzen – das ist das erklärte Ziel und die tägliche Arbeit des European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Das ECCHR ist eine gemeinnützige und unabhängige Menschenrechtsorganisation mit Sitz in Berlin. Sie wurde 2007 von Wolfgang Kaleck und weiteren internationalen Jurist*innen gegründet, um die Rechte, die in der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte sowie anderen Menschenrechtsdeklarationen und nationalen Verfassungen garantiert werden, mit juristischen Mitteln durchzusetzen.

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Maria Bause
T: +49 30 69819797

Philipp Jedamzik
T: +49 30 29680591