The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice on Thursday adjourned hearing in an alleged extra-judicial killing of 58 citizens in The Gambia until March 2.
At the hearing of the court on Thursday, Mr Kehinde Enagameh in a suit ECW/CCJ/APP/34/20 on Sept. 3, 2020. alleged that his brother, Omozernoje, was among the 58 citizens killed by security agents of The Gambian Government.
The applicant claimed the boat, in which 58 citizens were migrating to Europe, was seized by the country’s Navy on July 21, 2005.
He also alleged that the victims were killed on the order of the country’s former President, Yaya Jammeh.
Mr Marshal Abubakar, Counsel to Enagameh, cited articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Abubakar claimed the violation of the deceased’s rights to life, dignity of the human person, physical and mental health, liberty, freedom of movement, fair hearing and presumption of innocence.
He also claimed the violation of the deceased’s property, freedom from discrimination, equality before the law, and right to remedy by competent national courts.
“The deceased was among 58 citizens, comprising Nigerians, Ghanaians, Sierra Leoneans and Togolese, immigrants sailing through The Gambian waters with their international passports and other travel documents.
“They were enroute to board a fishing vessel anchored on high sea to Europe, when their boat was seized by agents of The Gambian Navy on July 21, 2005.
“Three escaped while the remaining 55 were stripped of their travel documents, monies and valuables,’’ he said.
He said this was before being summarily executed on the orders of the former president on July 22 and 23, 2005 at different locations in The Gambia.
He submitted to the court the newspaper report found on some of the dead bodies, and a graphic report prepared by Nigeria’s High Commission in The Gambia.
He also submitted confessions by the alleged perpetrators in the report of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission that sat in The Gambia after the exit of Jammeh from power.
“The deceased was a victim of extrajudicial killing, claiming he was unlawfully detained and brutally murdered without trial and convicted of any offence in violation of the extant international laws.
“Enagameh was legally in The Gambian territory as a community citizen and had his travelling documents with him,’’ he said.
Abubakar cited some precedent of the court and the African Union Court where member states were compelled to “investigate the killing of any person and prosecute the suspected murderers and compensate the family members of the deceased”.
“I urge the court to declare the actions of The Gambian government illegal and to direct the government to pay five hundred thousand dollars as damages for the murder of Enagameh.
“I wish the court to arrest and prosecute the former president and his accomplices for the murder,’’ he added.
However, the Presiding Judge, Justice Edward Asante, adjourned for hearing after the applicant informed the court that parties were unable to reach a settlement.
The court also noted the absence of the respondent state, The Gambia.
Also on the bench were Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara and Dupe Atoki. (NAN)