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Banjul, 4 March 2024: Family members of Mahawa Cham (victim of enforced disappearance in the Gambia) have sued The Gambia before the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (the ECOWAS Court) for remedy.

The suit filed 27 February 2024 states that, in April 2013, former member of the Gambia National Assembly and a critic of the Jammeh regime, Mahawa Cham (husband and father of the Plaintiffs) was abducted alongside his friend, Saul Ndow, by the Junglers, a death squad allegedly reporting directly to then President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. Though Mahawa Cham’s family reported his disappearance, coupled with credible evidence and testimonies recorded by the Gambia Police Force and the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Government of Gambia has failed to conduct any proper judicial investigations and to prosecute those responsible in a timely manner.

The suit alleges that, due to lack of effective investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators, The Gambia has violated Mahawa Cham’s right to life and the Plaintiff’s right to a remedy. These are rights and obligations enshrined in several treaties to which Gambia is party, notably the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

The Plaintiffs request the ECOWAS Court to declare The Gambia responsible for the alleged human rights violations; they equally request the Court to order The Gambia to conduct an effective investigation and prosecute perpetrators and to pay the victims monetary compensation for damages suffered.