The Gambia will journey into its grim past on Monday as it begins a probe into atrocities committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Dubbed the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), the panel faces high expectations of justice in this struggling young democracy. But it is far from clear whether the man at the centre of it all will ever be put in the dock.
“Prosecuting perpetrators is a lesson to others that no amount of time or distance or power can prevent justice,” human rights activist Madi Jobarteh told AFP.
“Justice provides solace and relief to victims, even if it does not fully restore the rights, dignity and properties they lost, or ease the pain they endured.”
For 22 years, Jammeh was kept in place by a web of oppression that touched nearly every part of Gambian society. Death squads, disappearances, sexual violence, torture and summary detention were its hallmarks.