The Gambian government has started working with the regional ECOWAS bloc to set up a tribunal to try crimes committed under ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh, the justice ministry said on Friday.

The tiny West African state is still scarred by a brutal 22-year dictatorship under Jammeh, who was defeated by Adama Barrow in presidential elections in December 2016 and fled the country.

"The government, through the ministry of justice is currently working with ECOWAS towards setting up a Hybrid Court which would prosecute crimes commited during (the) Jammeh regime," the ministry said.

Gambia's government last year endorsed the findings of a commission which uncovered alleged atrocities committed under Jammeh's regime, from the murder of political opponents to disappearances, rape and torture.

The commission estimated that between 240 and 250 people were killed during Jammeh's rule, with the former leader among 70 people set to be prosecuted.

Jammeh fled to Equatorial Guinea, but retains clout back home.

The government said the court would be established in Gambia, working in cooperation with internationals mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which played a pivotal role in the democratic transition.

"The government is working tirelessly to come up with an implementation plan which will be launched during the first quarter of this year, in the form of an international stakeholder/donor conference," said Gambia's Justice Minister Dawda Jallow.

"I am proud to report that, the government has finalised consultations and has drafted the Victims Reparations Bill to create an independent body to administer reparations for victims," he added.

President Barrow said earlier this month that he favoured the "hybrid" court system and that authorities were working to establish a "prosecution system" to try the alleged perpetrators.

"It is worth observing that the prosecution of crimes, such as torture, enforced disappearances, and crimes against humanity, are not specifically provided for under Gambian law.

"To deliver justice, therefore, we propose to develop a special judicial framework and create a hybrid court to try perpetrators whose offences amount to international crimes."