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Sept. 28 Massacre Indictment: Smoke and Mirrors to Keep Guinea Out of the ICC and to Appease the International Community

February 10, 2012

After the September 28 massacre, Guinean security forces guard the dead, yet no protection offered when they were alive

Hearing of a February 1, indictment by a Guinean court of Moussa Tiegboro Camara (a Guinean army colonel and current member of the cabinet of Alpha Conde) for the September 28, 2009, massacre may have been an exhilarating moment for many; unfortunately, there is nothing to celebrate. With this court ruling, Guinea has saved itself a trip to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and given the international community an opportunity to paint Conde as a “democrat.”

Moussa Tiegboro Camara, the September 28 massacre indictee

The ICC

Often, cases end up at the ICC because a country is unwilling or unable to prosecute its own people for crimes.  Yet, after  2 years and 6 months of Guinean courts not prosecuting  the case of the September 28 massacre, the recent indictment of Tiegboro Camara should not be interpreted as a move towards justice. Instead, the indictment is the first step in a smoke and mirrors show (something the Guinean government is very adept at) to ensure that the case goes no further.

Fatou Bensouda, soon to become the chief prosecutor at the international Criminal Court

The timing of the Guinean court indictment is key. After the September 28 massacre, the deputy prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, mounted an in-depth investigation and stated that crimes against humanity had been committed. Unfortunately, the case took a back seat to the 2010 presidential election because the international community, solely concerned with the transition to a civilian government, viewed it as a destabilizing factor that might delay or prevent the election. This coming June 16, Fatou Bensouda, will replace Luis Moreno Ocampo as the chief prosecutor at the ICC.  Because Bensouda will soon be in charge and is so intimately familiar with the details of the horror of the stadium murders and rapes, the government of Guinea had good reason to worry that the ICC might resurrect the case. Now, as long as the Guinean court goes through the motions of pursuing the perpetrators, albeit at a glacial pace, the case is unlikely to ever land at the ICC.

The International Community

During Conde’s short time in office, the international community has been trying to nudge him into a “democratic” mold.  And, Conde has been doing everything possible to break out of it, as witnessed by his numerous human rights violations: ordering state security forces to attack a gathering of Cellou Dalein Diallo’s supporters last April, arrest and incarceration of opposition leaders without evidence or cause, ordering his forces to attack peaceful unarmed opposition demonstrators last September 27, and, in both word and deed, promoting ethnic hatred of Peuhls.

Prior to the 2010 election, the international community, intent on proceeding with the “transition” to a civilian government, overlooked human rights abuses and electoral irregularities that should have resulted in the postponement of the election. Now, it is time to proceed with the final stage of the transition, the legislative elections, and the international community has a tougher job. It has to find a way to overcome the abysmal human rights record of a sitting president whose fraudulent election it heralded. Unlike in the 2010 presidential election, where the September 28 massacre was considered a destabilizing force, it becomes a plus for the legislative elections because it supplies Conde with some newly-minted “democratic” credentials.

The last time the international community said something good about Conde was directly after the 2010 election: “Alpha Conde, Guinea’s first democratically-elected president.” By repeating it often, objections by those who knew better were drowned out. In the lead-up to the legislative elections, the international community will use the indictment for the September 28 massacre to re-cast Conde’s image, once again: “Alpha Conde, Guinea’s first democratically-elected president and guardian of justice for victims of September 28.” 

Conde will be marketed to the world as a “man of justice” giving him even more cover to promote ethnic hatred and kill his fellow citizens in the streets.

No, there is nothing to celebrate in this court ruling. There can only be condemnation of the government of Guinea for its manipulation of the September 28 massacre victims, once again.

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Below is a link to the Jeune Afrique article about this story, followed by a Google translation in English:

Tiegboro Camara Inculpe pour son role presume dans les massacres du 28 septembre, 2009

Google Translation into English of Above Article

Guinea: Camara Tiégboro indicted for historical Alleged Role In The massacres of September 28, 2009
Camara (333) – Toumba Diakite (19) – Moussa Camara Tiégboro (13) – September 28 massacre (11)
09/02/2012 at 09h: 42 By Andrew Silver Konan

Tiégboro Camara is one of the three suspects in the killings hand of September 28, 2009.

February 1, the Guinean justice has indicted Lt. Col.. Moussa Tiegboro Camara, director of the National Agency for the Fight Against Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Terrorism in Guinea. Reason: his Alleged Responsibility in the massacres of September 28, 2009 in Conakry stadium.

The information was announced one week after the court ruling, this Wednesday, February 8, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). “The indictment of Tiegboro Camara, who was implicated in a UN International Commission of Inquiry report as one of the most responsible for serious violations of human rights perpetrated on September 28 and in the days directly thereafter. This is a positive signal to the victims of crime who are waiting for justice, “Said Belhassen, FIDH President.

The nine local NGOs and Organizations including the Organization Guinean Human Rights and Civil rights (OGDH), the Collective of Associations of Victims (Cave) and the Association of Women and Girls Victims of Violence (AFFV) welcomed the indictment of the Guinean justice system, which is “a breakthrough”.

September 28, 2009, at least 157 people were killed, dozens of women raped and suffered other sex crimes (109 registered cases), more than a hundred were disappeared and 1,253 people were injured. The victims consisted of the political opposition and civil society protesting the potential candidacy of Captain Camara, the junta leader of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) who had taken power earlier in the year, the after the death of General Lansana Conte.

Three Parties to the main persons

The UN inquiry implicated three prominent CNDD: Captain Camara, Lieutenant Aboubacar Toumba Diakite, aide to the first, and Moussa Camara Tiegboro, then Minister for the Fight against Drugs and Crime. Among the prime suspects to first be indicted is Tiégboro Camara. Dadis Camara, who lives in Ouagadougou since a failed assassination attempt against him in late 2009, has not yet been questioned Toumba Diakite, the author of the attack against Dadis, is within the scope of an arrest warrant in Guinea.

“This indictment is an important step which should lead to the establishment of all responsibilities and conduct of a fair trial in Guinea, that ‘all Guineans are calling for,” say the’ OGDH and victims’ associations. Tiégboro has not been arrested, in any case, not yet.

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