Witness Testimony, Support, and Protection in Truth Commissions: The Gambian Experience

  • Adedayo Akingbade (Contributor)

Activity: Other activity typesOther


The project examines the ‘witness experience’ in relation to the truth commission in the Gambia. The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) seeks to create truth and national healing and will rely heavily on interviews with and testimonies of witnesses. The project is the first stage of a longitudinal study, involving witnesses at the various stages of the process. The case study provides a salient example of a least-developing country in a period of transition grappling with its past. The Gambia has emerged from 22 years of authoritarian rule and the legacy of state repression has left the justice system lacking infrastructure and legitimacy. In this context, the TRRC will face real challenges in procuring testimony from witnesses and ensuring a meaningful experience. This pilot study will explore the barriers to witness confidence and engagement and further understand what it means to ‘bear witness’ in a truth commission. In doing so, this project is broken down into three key pillars – witness testimonies and witness support and witness protection.
The project combines the disciplines of socio-legal studies, legal anthropology and transitional justice and will make a significant contribution to the literature on truth and reconciliation commissions, storytelling, testimony and voice.
Period09 Sep 201831 Mar 2019
Held atGambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Gambia