COLLECTING BODIES OF THE DEAD, A FEW DAYS AFTER THE STATE-SPONSORED MASSACRE AND RAPES OF SEPT. 28, 2009
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) has issued a call for the Guinean government to bring in Capt. Dadis Camara, after he attends the funeral of his mother in N’Zerekore this Sunday, for questioning and to make a statement about the September 28, 2009 massacre and mass rapes. The Attorney General of Guinea opened a judicial inquiry into this case on February 1, 2010. The inquiry has yielded a few less-than-serious indictments and it is apparent that the Guinean government purposely stalled the investigation every step of the way – one time it stopped operations because it did not have pencils and paper.
More than any of the witnesses interviewed thus far, Camara will be able to provide the most detailed information, especially about the involvement in the September 28 crimes by civilian politicians and military leaders of the highest rank. While Camara may sweat at this turn of events, it is Conde and other members of his government that may have the most to worry about.
FIDH is joined in this call by Guinean human rights organizations –all of which are listed at the bottom.
Moussa Dadis Camara in Guinea: an opportunity for advancing the Guinean justice in the case of the massacre of September 28, 2009
Friday, April 12, 2013 5:42 p.m.
On the occasion of the visit to Guinea by the former head of the Guinean government, our organizations have expressed their concern about the progress of the current investigation into the events of September 28, 2009 and called the judicial and political authorities in Guinea to ensure an independent and effective investigation, to allow for a fair trial within a reasonable time. The hearing of Camara by judges would be a strong and necessary in this direction.
The former head of the military junta in Guinea between 23 December 2008 and 3 December 2009 should go to Nzérékoré Prefecture Forest Guinea to attend the funeral of his mother, who died recently. This is the first time that the former head of state will be staying in Guinea since his evacuation to Morocco and Burkina Faso, following the assassination attempt in 2009, shortly after the events of September 28, where at least 157 people were killed after soldiers opened fire on demonstrators.
A judicial inquiry was opened by the Attorney General on February 1, 2010, to investigate crimes committed in Conakry on 28 September and following days. The three judges in charge of the investigation have heard more than 300 victims, but they charged or interviewed a handful of perpetrators, including Colonel Moussa Camara Tiegboro, charged on February 1, 2012 but still functioning openly, or Colonel Abdoulaye Cherif Diaby, former Minister of Health of the junta, charged on 13 September.
On several occasions, the judges attempted to interview Moussa Dadis Camara on the events of September 28. This is a first international interrogatory letter was issued on 5 April 2011. Unanswered, it was followed by a second request made at the beginning of 2013, from which there is no answer.
If Moussa Dadis Camara has not been formally challenged by the Guinean justice to this day, the International Commission of Inquiry on Guinea had estimated in its report issued in December 2009, that “there is sufficient reason to presume direct criminal responsibility of President Moussa Dadis Camara, or command responsibility for acts that occurred in the context of the attack and the following days. “
Camara should be heard by the judges to contribute to the manifestation of the truth about the September 28 massacre.
“If the interrogatory letters were not successful so far, the Guinean justice could benefit from the presence of Moussa Dadis Camara on Guinean soil to ask questions that had been addressed when he was staying in Ouagadougou,” said Mr. Patrick Baudouin, honorary president of the FIDH and member of the group of lawyers of the victims of September 28.
“We respect the mourning for Mr. Camara and the possibility for him to attend his mother’s funeral and mourn with his family. We simply ask that justice can continue its work, so that the truth is finally known and officials judged. We also have experienced bereavement but for many of us, we have not been able to bury our loved ones, “said the father of a victim disappeared at the stadium on 28 September and not yet recovered.
Our organizations call the Guinean political and judicial authorities to take all necessary measures for the proper conduct of the proceedings and to reaffirm their commitment to ensure that violations of human rights in Guinea are now known by the court.
“It is not to precipitate a complex instruction, unprecedented for the Guinean judicial system, by its size and by the number of authors involved or civil parties formed, which could be counter-productive and lead to a botched procedure that would not be satisfactory for anyone. But it should be that education increased significantly and steadily, not to disappoint the expectations of justice for the victims and the fight against impunity in Guinea, a fundamental challenge in establishing the rule of law, “said Thierno Sow, president of the OGDH.
Our organizations also recalled that Guinea is the subject of a preliminary analysis of the International Criminal Court, opened by the Prosecutor’s Office October 15, 2009. According to the principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor’s Office may decide to open an investigation if it found a lack of willingness or ability of the Guinean justice to judge the main perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed in this country.
Moussa Dadis Camara came to power following a military coup after the death of Lansana Conté. Having pledged to hold presidential elections in which he did not participate, Mr. Camara had finally shown his intention to run, triggering a significant mobilization of civil society and opposition political parties.
Thus Sept. 28, 2009, thousands of people from all political affiliations and from many civil society organizations converged at the stadium in Conakry to protest peacefully against the possible candidacy. Once the protesters arrived at the stadium, elements of the Guinean armed forces and especially the red berets of the presidential guard entered the compound and opened fire on the crowd, killing, according to the report of the Commission of Inquiry International United Nations, at least 156 people, including a party that has still not been found. More than a hundred women were raped, hundreds injured and dozens of shops looted by the police.
Joint press release:
International Federation of Human Rights – FIDH
Guinean Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights – OGDH
African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights – RADDHO Guinea
Equal rights for all – MDT
Association of victims, relatives and friends of 28 September 2009 – AVIPA
Association of Families of the Disappeared on 28 September 2009 – AFADIS