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State security proceedings on the suspicion of crimes against humanity in Gambia

- The first criminal proceedings in the world against an alleged member of Gambian special forces abroad opens - Accreditation of media representatives -

CELLE. The Fifth Criminal Division with the Higher Regional Court (OLG), with the decision of 24 March 2022, allowed the main hearing regarding the indictment of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office against a 46-year-old Gambian citizen and opened the main proceedings (5 StS 1/22). The Accused has been in pre-trial detention since 16 March 2021.

The Accused is charged in three cases with a crime against humanity (Section 7 Para. 1 No. 1 of the International Criminal Code (ICC)) in conjunction with murder, whereby one case remained at attempted murder [Der Generalbundesanwalt - Aktuelle Pressemitteilungen - Anklage gegen ein ehemaliges Mitglied der gambischen Streitkräfte wegen Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit erhoben].

The Accused is alleged to have been a member of a former special unit of the Gambian armed forces, the so-called Patrol Team. This unit, also called the “Junglers”, allegedly carried out illegal orders to kill from the then Gambian state president, Yahya Jammeh. The aim of these operations was to intimidate the Gambian people and suppress the opposition. Specifically, in three cases, the Accused allegedly drove members of his unit to such liquidations and then drove them away again afterwards:

At the end of December 2003, a lawyer who defended a person who had fallen into disfavour with the president was allegedly to be killed. A member of the unit allegedly fired multiple shots at him. The lawyer survived with serious injuries.

One year later, the “Patrol Team” allegedly stopped a Gambian journalist critical of the government in his car and shot him. Together with another vehicle belonging to the “Patrol Team”, the Accused allegedly “encircled” the journalist’s car.

In the period that followed, probably in 2006, members of the unit allegedly shot a suspected opponent of the Gambian president. The Accused allegedly drove the other perpetrators and the subsequent victim to the scene of the crime.

The charges brought against the Accused potentially carry a sentence of life imprisonment.

The main hearing shall serve to clarify whether the charges brought are accurate; the Accused is presumed innocent until a final sentence has been passed.

The main hearing begins on

Wednesday, 25 April 2022 at 09:00

At the Higher Regional Court Celle, Courtroom H 94

Schloßplatz 2 - Kanzleistraße entrance.

Continuation dates are currently scheduled for 26 April 2022, 9, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31 May 2022, 13, 14, 20, 21 and 30 June 2022, 1, 7 and 8 July 2022, 18, 19 and 26 August 2022, 1, 2 and 26 September 2022, 6, 7, 13, 14 and 21 October 2022, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 24 and 25 November 2022, 1, 2, 9, 14 and 15 December 2022 and then ongoing from January 2023 every Thursday and Friday from 09:00 respectively.

Measures to protect against infection with the COVID 19 virus:

FFP2 masks are to be worn at all times in the security area, the courtroom and the media relations room.

Admission to the courtroom or media relations room shall only be granted with a negative Covid test or alternatively upon presentation of proof of a third Covid vaccine, namely the booster vaccine. A rapid test by a certified test centre valid on the day or a PCR test is required as proof of a Covid test.

Accreditation of media representatives:

The Chairperson of the Fifth Criminal Division has issued a security order and ordered under IV. that an accreditation procedure be carried out for press and media representatives.

Particular reference is made to the set accreditation deadline. This

begins on 6 April 2022 at 10:00 and

ends on 8 April 2022 at 12:00.

Applications received before the deadline period begins or after the deadline has expired shall not be considered. Notification of premature receipt shall not be given.

Please note that registration is exclusively by e-mail and is only possible via the accreditation mailbox set up for this purpose. The relevant e-mail address is:

In order to simplify the procedure, the attached form is to be used. Registrations that are not sent by e-mail or to other e-mail addresses of the judiciary are not permitted and shall not be considered.

A total of nine seats are available for accredited press representatives in the courtroom. Further places are available in a media relations room, to which audio of the hearing will be transmitted if required.

The places in the courtroom shall first be assigned separately in the order of receipt of the registration applications for each contingent or sub-contingent. Applications received simultaneously shall be decided by lottery. Every press and media company shall initially receive only one place; if further places remain free, a media company may also be assigned two places.

These places shall be allocated to the following contingents:

a) Print and online media 4 places

b) German television and broadcasting 3 places

of which: Public television 1 place

Private television 1 place

Radio 1 place

c) German news and press agencies 1 place

d) Gambian media representatives 1 place

(Priority shall be given to a Gambian broadcasting company; if no Gambian media representative is accredited, this place shall first be made available to the representative of an international news or press agency.)

The assigned seats must be taken on the respective day of the hearing 15 minutes before the session begins. Unoccupied places for that day shall be taken by the available contingent.

Two television crews (one each from a public institution and a private broadcaster) and one photographer shall be admitted to photograph and film in the courtroom. In the event that more than two television crews and one photographer apply for admission, a pool shall be formed. Willingness to assume the task of pool management should be declared upon applying for accreditation. Further details are available in the security order.

In the film recordings and photographs, it is to be ensured that the faces of the Accused and of the assigned judicial and police personnel are anonymised before publication using a technical process (“pixelated”) and that they can only be used in anonymised form.

FAQs on the accreditation procedure have been compiled here for the purpose of simplification.


Andreas Keppler

Higher Regional Court Judge

Press spokesperson

Telephone: 05141 / 206 777

01525 6798160

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