Germany: Verdict in Gambia Atrocity Case

Germany: Verdict in Gambia Atrocity Case


Berlin, November 28, 2023 – A German court in the city of Celle is expected to deliver a verdict on November 30, 2023, in the first trial in Germany for crimes committed in The Gambia, Gambian and international civil society groups said today in releasing a question and answer document about the trial.

The groups are: the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Gambian Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Rose Lokissim Association, the Solo Sandeng Foundation, and TRIAL International.

This trial is possible because Germany recognizes universal jurisdiction over certain serious crimes under international law, allowing for the investigation and prosecution of these crimes no matter where they were committed and regardless of the nationality of the suspects or victims.

The trial concerns Bai L., an alleged member of the “Junglers,” a paramilitary unit also known as the “Patrol Team,” which was set up by then-president Yahya Jammeh in the mid-1990s. Jammeh’s 22-year rule was marked by systematic oppression and widespread human rights violations, including torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and sexual violence against actual and perceived opponents.

German prosecutors accuse Bai L. of being a Junglers driver involved in the attempted murder of Ousman Sillah, a lawyer; the murder of Deyda Hydara, a journalist; the attempted murder of Ida Jagne and Nian Sarang Jobe, who worked with the independent newspaper Hydara; and the murder of a former Gambian soldier, Dawda Nyassi

The verdict in the Bai L. case represents a major step in the search for justice for years of abuses committed under Jammeh’s rule in The Gambia, the groups said. The Bai L. trial reinforces the role that governments like Germany can play in advancing justice for atrocities committed abroad under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Civil society groups will hold a news conference online on Thursday, November 30 after the verdict is issued – scheduled for 3:30 pm CET – at the following link:

To read the question-and-answer document, please see the attached PDF:

Questions and Answers on first German trial for serious crimes

For more information, please contact:
For Reporters Without Borders, in Dakar, Sadibou Marong (English, French): +221-70-960-40-92 (mobile); or Twitter: @cheikhsadbu
For TRIAL International, in Geneva, Babaka Mputu (English, French, German): +41-775-07-04-56 (mobile); or Twitter: @Trial
For Human Rights Watch, in New York, Elise Keppler (English, French): +1-917-687-8576 (mobile); or Twitter: @EliseKeppler
For Solo Sandeng Foundation, in Germany, Fatoumatta Sandeng (English, German, Mandinka, Wollof): +49-163-174-7519 (mobile); or Twitter: @solosandengfound
For ANEKED, in New York, Nana-Jo Ndow (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese): +1-929-684-5734 (mobile); or @theANEKED
For Reporters Without Borders, in Berlin, Nicola Bier (German, English, French, Spanish, Italian): +49-160-9957-6073 (mobile); or Twitter: @ReporterOG
Lawyer for Baba Hydara and Omar and Modou Nyassi, in Celle, Patrick Kroker (German, English, French): +49-170-813-6258 (mobile); or Twitter: @pkroker2
For International Commission of Jurists, in New York, Reed Brody (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese): +1-917-388-6745 (mobile); or Twitter: @reedbrody

Lithuania: ICJ and partners intervene in a European Court of Human Rights case on immigration detention

Lithuania: ICJ and partners intervene in a European Court of Human Rights case on immigration detention

Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe), the Dutch Council for Refugees (DCR), and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), submitted a third-party intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the case S.M.H. v Lithuania, concerning the deprivation of liberty of an asylum seeker.

S.M.H., an Iraqi citizen, who entered Lithuania irregularly and sought asylum, was subsequently arrested and detained in various centres. The applicant claimed that his detention was not justified, lacking both  individualised assessment and effective legal assistance.

In its intervention, the ICJ and its partners focus on Article 5.1 and Article 5.4 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). In particular, the interveners analyse the requirements for lawful deprivation of liberty, the right to have the lawfulness of detention promptly examined by a Court, and the right to have effective legal assistance. The intervention considers both the EU and international law and standards related to deprivation of liberty and the right to an effective remedy against unlawful detention and material conditions of detention.

The key points of the intervention are as follows:

  • The interveners submit that under Article 5.1 detention must not be arbitrary, and be prescribed by law both substantively and procedurally. The intervention highlights that detention must be a measure of last resort, it should follow an individualised and exhaustive examination, and it may be imposed only when less strict measures cannot be effectively applied.
  • Regarding Article 5.4, the interveners clarify that an effective judicial review of detention prescribed by law and accessible in practice constitutes a safeguard against arbitrary detention. Legal aid and competent legal representation are essential elements in ensuring the accessibility and effectiveness of judicial review of the lawfulness of detention.
  • Finally, the interveners stress that lack of access to clear information, lack of access to a lawyer, and lack of access to an effective remedy contravene the guarantees under Articles 3 and 13 ECHR, rendering them ineffective, theoretical, and illusory.


Read the full intervention here.


UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice and Reparation: All States should apply international standards for transitional justice

UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice and Reparation: All States should apply international standards for transitional justice

The ICJ welcomes the last report of Mr. Fabian Salvioli as he ends his 6-year tenure as the UN Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. The report, presented to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 14 September 2023, compiles and analyses existing international standards under the five pillars of transitional justice: truth, justice, reparation, memorialization and guarantees of non-recurrence.

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