The new Gambian leader who promises a fresh start for his country has said he will honour previous ECOWAS court verdicts that were issued against the country’s former government for killings and torture of three journalists.
President Adama Barrow has defeated Gambia’s longstanding ruler Yahya Jammeh in country’s December 1 presidential elections on the backing of seven political parties.
His predecessor Jammeh was accused of several killings and disappearances.
The ECOWAS court found against the former British colony in three cases in recent years, awarding damages to the victims of disappearances and torture, while the investment arbitrator ruled against Gambia after Jammeh cancelled the contract of mining company Carnegie Minerals.
The journalists were Chief Ebrima Manneh, Deyda Hydara and Ebrima saidykhan but Jammeh had refused to recognize the rulings.
The total amount of legal damages awarded was over a billion dalasi.
Barrow said the government would honor the legal judgments made against the former regime by the court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
“Government is continuity,” Barrow said. “It is our responsibility. This is a democratic process and we will not ignore those processes. We will see how best we can settle these matters.”
Barrow has made the statements in an interview with Turkey News Agency on Thursday at his office.
The honouring of the verdicts of the regional court on cases of the disappeared journalists Chief Ebrima Manneh and Killed journalists Deyda Hydara as well as tortured journalist Ebrima Saidykhan had been an issue between the Gambia Press Union and Jammeh’s government.
During Barrow’s first press conference following his return from Senegal, GPU president Bai Emil Touray has asked the president if he would honour the rulings.
But Barrow said he would need more time to discuss the nature of the cases with his cabinet colleagues.