GUINEA: Letter to ICC Head, Fatou Bensouda, About Her Post-Election Statement

COMMENT

After two Guinean presidential elections in a row were stolen by Alpha Conde, both fraught with provable, staggering fraud, the people of Guinea are wondering today if they will ever participate in an election where their vote counts. Not only have they been disenfranchised in both elections, but these are the citizens among whom the Guinean government massacred and raped in an audacious attack on an opposition rally on September 28, 2009. It was obvious from the start that probable war crimes were committed. But, before a case can make it to the International Criminal Court, the crimes must first be tried in the court system of the country in which the crimes were committed. Indictments of the perpetrators of the September 28, 2009 massacre were highly unlikely because the case required the government to prosecute itself. Despite reassurances from the ICC head, Fatou Bensouda, that crimes against humanity had taken place, Guinean officials feigned interest in pursuing the case handing out a few indictments — just enough to keep the case in limbo between Guinean courts and the ICC. Before long, Guineans heard and saw less of Fatou Bensouda and it is highly unlikely Guineans will ever receive justice.When ICC prosecutor sent out a statement on October 14, 2015, about post-election violence to the people of Guinea, it sent the opposition into a tailspin. In rather terse language she notified “political actors” that she would prosecute them for any of an array of crimes under ICC jurisdiction. Glaringly lacking in her statement were similar warnings to the Guinean government and a general call to use restraint. Her statement is proof that she is doing the bidding of the Conde government and interested international actors to scare opposition protesters off the streets and, most likely, into jails. Guineans are not lost on the irony that Bensouda did nothing to further the September 28, 2009 massacre case, but she has been drafted to be Conde’s “cop” to police an opposition that has every reason in the world to be in the streets. .
Below is Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s statement followed by a statement from Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon which has been working on issues associated wit the 2009 massacre.

Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, following growing tensions reported in Guinea
As part of its ongoing preliminary examination, my Office has been closely following developments in the situation in Guinea, including as they relate to the risk of possible violence leading to crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”).
The Presidential election in Guinea is following its course. However, reports of growing tensions have recently emerged.
I would like to reiterate my call for calm and restraint to all political actors, and their supporters. I wish to reiterate that anyone who commits, orders, incites, encourages or contributes in any other way to the commission of atrocity crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC is liable to prosecution either in Guinea or at the Court in The Hague.
My Office is closely following developments of the situation in Guinea.
OTPNewsDesk@icc-cpi.int
Source: Office of the Prosecutor
Elections in Guinea-letter Pottal Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon to Mrs Fatou Bensouda

New York October 16, 2015

Dear lady,
For the past six years, our organization, Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon, and many associations of victims or human rights have been constantly challenging you personally to accelerate a referral to the ICC for crimes against humanity of 28 September 2009 in Guinea. Given the state of decay in which political regimes have deliberately kept the judicial system in Guinea, the Guinean people have hoped that the ICC would be a viable substitute for prosecution of political crimes in our country.
As of 14 October 2015, following the presidential elections, your office has made ​​a statement calling for calm and restraint but also threatening to prosecute people who commit crimes or incite violence.
If your appeal was limited to appeal for calm, it would be commendable. But, in this case, your veiled threats are regrettable in many respects. They echo the words of the Minister of Justice of Guinea. They leave the impression of collusion with those in power with a regrettable ignorance of acts recently committed by the security forces crimes, but also the frustrations of Guineans to have serious deficiencies during the election recorded and addressed. It is the legitimate and inalienable right of every Guinean – political leader or not – to rebel against any failure of governments – especially in an electoral consultation matter. But, by making threats that implicitly target the opponents of the regime, you give the impression to trample these legitimate and fundamental rights. Surprisingly, you seem to favor the maintenance of peace at any cost at the expense of justice and you leave a perception of bias towards those who are viewed by the Guinean people as usurpers of power through electoral manipulations.
If during the last six years, your office was not satisfied that terse statements on crimes against humanity in 2009, your calls would have had more chance of being taken seriously. Better, more drastic and concrete actions of the ICC in prosecuting criminals were the most effective way to ensure elections without violence and acceptance of results by all stakeholders.
Instead, for six years, your office has kept a disturbing silence about heinous crimes committed by the security forces of the regime which, despite the complaints of the victims were never heard by the Guinean justice system. You may recall:y include: the numerous killings of protesters, the attack and the summary execution of citizens dormant in Zogota, the kidnapping of youth in Conakry and their secret transfer to a military camp in Upper Guinea where, following 10 days of torture, two of them lost their lives, arbitrary arrests of military conspiracy rumors etc.
Moreover, despite repeated calls from all sides, we have not heard you disavow the presence in the Guinean government of officers accused of crimes against humanity for which your office is in charge of preliminary investigations. Finally, the ICC found no objection to the flagrant denial of justice by which not only the Guinean government prohibits Daddis Camara to return to his country, but also appear before the court, following his indictment for crimes of 28 September 2009.
These unfortunate oversights contradict the mission of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC. The ICC has guaranteed a wide independence and discretion to open and manage investigations and to propose the indictment of the accused in gathering evidence. However, in the case of Guinea, neglect and the perception of bias demonstrated by you has put that independence in a bad light. Incidentally, they tarnish the image of the jurisdiction of the ICC which remains a last resort for many African citizens living in countries with ruthless dictatorships.
As always, our organization and many victims’ organizations in Guinea assure you of their full availability to work with you in the search for justice. At the same time, our determination to spare no effort to bring about a Guinea rid of a gangrene of impunity is the reason for our public questioning of you.
Please believe in our regards.
The Central Committee of Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon

Enlargements:
· Minister of Justice of Guinea
· Minister for Human Rights of Guinea
· FIDH
· OGDH
· Guinean associations of victims: AVIPA, AFADIS, AGORA, Camp Boiro
· Human Right Watch
· Human Right First
““““`· State Department Global Justice

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“Preventive Diplomacy:” The International Community’s Betrayal of the People of Guinea


Kadiatou Barry, 22, holds a photograph of her missing husband Alpha Oumar Diallo in Conakry October 4, 2009. Barry says her husband has been missing since the September 28 crackdown on opposition protesters.

“PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY:”  The International Community’s Betrayal of the People of Guinea

In the following article, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon recommends “preventive diplomacy” be applied more widely throughout the world. Through early warning systems and skilled interventions, preventive diplomacy improves the probability that diplomats will be able to pre-empt conflicts that might erupt within countries. One of the many “successes” of preventive diplomacy cited in the article is the 2010 presidential election in Guinea. Guineans might say that if this is what “preventive diplomacy” gets you, no thanks.

Regardless of what you call it, the international community has been using this manner of diplomacy for a long time and the goal has always been the same – to establish or preserve an atmosphere of peace and calm for the purpose of attracting and maintaining business investments. In the case of Guinea, the international community was particularly panicked about the possibility of a military uprising and its potential to scare away investors. As we shall see, in its determination to hold the 2010 election come hell or high water and to maintain a peaceful appearance for business investment, the international community made tragic trade-offs which were not its to make and Guineans will have to live with the negative consequences for years to come.

Brutal regimes often use violent and deadly tactics to repress populations in order to maintain calm. While a thin veneer of peace is shown to the world, most of these countries sit on powder kegs. Often, the international community looks the other way as these regimes commit human rights abuses and hold fraudulent elections. Over the past two years, the people of Guinea have known both of these injustices.

The first of these is the tragedy of September 28, 2009, in which unarmed opposition protesters, mostly of Peuhl ethnicity, were the victims of a pre-meditated, state-sponsored massacre by the Guinean military and foreign mercenaries. Over 200 were murdered, 1,200 were injured, and at least 100 women were viciously raped. An investigation by the International Criminal Court was initiated swiftly, but as we shall see, duplicitous dealings by the international community shut the investigation down.

In 2010, Guineans, mostly Peuhl, were the target of election-related violence which left many dead, women raped, homes burned, and livelihoods destroyed. Both the state and supporters of presidential candidate Alpha Conde collaborated in this violent plot to intimidate and disenfranchise Peuhls in the presidential election.

The election itself, much heralded by the international community, was nothing short of a sham involving massive fraud orchestrated by an operative of Conde’s, Lounceny Camara, who sat on the country’s electoral commission. Camara tampered with the vote tally in order to deny Cellou Dalein Diallo a first round victory. He committed more fraud in the second round paving the way for an Alpha Conde “win.” In the first round, in which Diallo ran against several candidates, real figures show that Diallo garnered approximately 53% of the vote. In the end, millions of Guineans cast ballots that were never counted, resulting in wholesale disenfranchisement of the voting population. Conde may be the head of state, but he arrives at Sekoutoureya Palace without a mandate to govern. This election should have been nullified and the international community should have led the way. Continue reading ““Preventive Diplomacy:” The International Community’s Betrayal of the People of Guinea”