Swiss Court Convicts Gambian Minister of Crimes Against Humanity

(Bloomberg) -- A Swiss Court on Wednesday convicted a former Gambian minister for crimes against humanity under former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

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The Federal Criminal Court found Ousman Sonko guilty of intentional homicide, torture and false imprisonment. Sonko, who was dismissed as interior minister in 2016 after falling out with Jammeh, was acquitted of rape. He has been in custody since 2017.

“This verdict against Sonko confirms that justice knows no borders and that ‘universal jurisdiction’ has become a powerful tool to bring to book tyrants and torturers who thought they had escaped justice,” Reed Brody, a former war crimes prosecutor with the International Commission of Jurists, who works with Gambian victims, said in an emailed response to questions.

Last month, Gambian lawmakers passed two new bills that could see Jammeh tried locally for crimes committed during his over 20-years-long rule.

Jammeh has lived in exile in Equatorial Guinea since 2017. The Central African country’s President Teodoro Obiang has previously said that he would reject any request to have Jammeh extradited.

--With assistance from Katarina Höije.

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