Daddis presidential bid – Letter from Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon to Mrs. Fatou Bensouda (EN-FR)

Daddis presidential bid – Letter from Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta Djallon to Mrs. Fatou Bensouda.
New York, May 29, 2015
Dear Madam Bensouda,
Following the announcement of the candidacy of Mr. Daddis Camara in the presidential elections of Guinea, a coalition of 29 Human Rights organizations, including the FIDH and OGDH, made a statement to mark their indignation on this inappropriate bid which is a sign of contempt to the judicial process and to victims of the massacres of 28 September 2009.
On many occasions – by online petitions, memoranda and letters – our organization and many victims have called on you to request the transfer of the 2009 crimes against humanity’ investigation to the International Court of Justice. We’ve regularly kept you informed of the actions and statements of the Guinean government’s obvious denial of justice to the victims. On October 25th, 2014, in a speech in the Soussou language given in the Loos Islands, the Guinean President admitted having asked the “white folks” to put an end to the investigations. That same month, the justice minister, accused those who want that judicial proceedings to be expedited of having hidden political motives.
The culture of impunity is not only a legacy of past state violence in Guinea. It has become a method of governance. With the approach of presidential elections, the Guinean president wants to use the 2009 crimes to sow discord among the Guinean communities. The staging of demonstrations in the town of Nzerekore and the appointment in the government of a supposed ally of Mr. Daddis Camara, Mr. Boubacar Barry, are part of his plans. In addition, the authorities spread rumors of rebellion in the region from alleged accomplices of Mr. Daddis. A concerted effort is being made by the government to entertain the fiction of Mr. Daddis Camara political stature behind which Guinean citizens native of the Forest region would identify. The campaign is an insult to the Guineans from the southern region of Guinea who are strongly opposed to human rights violations which they have always been victims of. The governance by impunity introduced by the Guinean president has made ethnicity a screen to hide grave crimes. The goal – for the purposes of electoral maneuvering – is to make all denunciations of the crimes committed by the CNDD, an attack against local residents. These amalgams have served as cover for state crimes in Guinea and are the framework of perpetuating impunity.
Our organization and the associations of the victims believe that all conditions are met for your intervention. Since the charges made on a few officers in 2012, the Guinean judges in charge of the September 2009 crimes case have made no progress. This laxity is unacceptable. One of its consequences is to have enabled the Guinean government to inject in the electoral process an officer charged of crimes against humanity. Faced with this evident obstruction of justice of the Guinean government, it is the duty of the I.C.C to take up the issue of the killings. The Guinean populations and victims put their hope in your institution of last resort to begin the eradication of impunity in our country. This eradication is the only way to counter the confrontations the government of Mr. Conde has prepared with his policy of political division and legal laxity.
We remain available should you need any further information.
Respectfully,
COMMISSION FOR THE CENTRAL POTTAL-FII-BHANTAL FOUTA-DJALLON

 

Candidature présidentielle de Daddis – Lettre de Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djallon à Madame Fatou Bensouda.
New York, le 29 Mai 2015
Chère Madame Bensouda,
Suite à l’annonce de la candidature de Mr. Daddis Camara aux élections présidentielles de la Guinée, une coalition de 29 organisations de défense des droits de l’homme incluant le FIDH et l’OGDH, a fait une déclaration pour marquer leur indignation sur cette candidature inopportune qui est un signe de mépris du processus judiciaire et aux victimes des massacres du 28 septembre 2009.
A maintes occasions – par pétitions en ligne, mémorandums et lettres – notre organisation ainsi que de nombreuses victimes vous ont interpellée pour demander le transfert des enquêtes sur les crimes de 2009 à la cour internationale de justice. Nous vous avons régulièrement tenue informée des actions et des propos de déni évident de justice aux victimes des crimes contre l’humanité de 2009 du gouvernement guinéen. En date du 25 octobre 2014, dans un discours en langue Soussou aux îles de Loos, le président guinéen a avoué avoir demandé aux « blancs » de mette fin aux enquêtes sur les massacres. Ce même mois, le ministre de la justice, accusa ceux qui veulent que les procédures judiciaires soient accélérées d’avoir des arrière-pensées politiques.
La culture de l’impunité ne procède pas seulement du passé de violence d’état en Guinée. Elle est devenue une méthode de gouvernance. À l’approche des élections présidentielles, le chef de l’état guinéen veut faire des crimes de 2009 un moyen de discorde entre les communautés guinéennes. Les montages de manifestations dans la ville de Nzérékoré et la nomination dans le gouvernement d’un supposé allié de Mr. Daddis Camara, Mr. Boubacar Barry, font partie de ses plans. En outre, les autorités répandent des rumeurs de rébellion dans la région par des prétendus affidés de Mr. Daddis. Cette campagne est faite pour entretenir l’illusion d’une stature politique de Mr. Daddis Camara derrière laquelle les guinéens originaire de la région de la Forêt se reconnaitraient. En soi, elle est une insulte aux guinéens de la région du Sud de la Guinée qui restent fermement opposés aux violations de droits de l’homme dont ils ont été toujours victimes. La gouvernance par l’impunité instaurée par le président guinéen a fait de l’appartenance ethnique un paravent pour des crimes imprescriptibles. Le but visé est de faire – à des fins de marchandages électoraux – de toutes dénonciations des crimes commis par le CNDD, une atteinte aux habitants de la région. Ces amalgames sont la couverture aux crimes d’état en Guinée et le cadre de perpétuation de l’impunité.
Notre organisation et les associations des victimes considèrent que toutes les conditions sont remplies pour une intervention de votre part. Depuis les inculpations de quelques officiers en 2012, les juges guinéens en charge du dossier des crimes de Septembre 2009 n’ont fait aucun progrès. Ce laxisme est inacceptable. L’une de ses conséquences est d’avoir permis au gouvernement guinéen d’injecter un accusé de crimes contre l’humanité dans le processus électoral. Face à cette obstruction manifeste de la justice du gouvernement guinéen, il est du devoir de la CPI de se saisir du dossier des massacres. Les populations guinéennes et les victimes placent leur espoir en votre institution de derniers recours pour entamer l’éradication de l’impunité dans notre pays. Cette éradication reste le seul moyen pour contrer les affrontements dont le gouvernement de Mr. Condé a préparé les conditions de par ses politiques de division et de laxisme juridique.
Nous restons à votre disposition pour toute information complémentaire et vos prions de croire à nos sentiments distingués

Pour la commission centrale de Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djalon

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Visite de Mr. François Hollande en Guinée. Lettre ouverte de Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djallon

Visite de Mr.  François Hollande en Guinée. Lettre ouverte de Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djallon

New-York le 26 Novembre 2014.

À son Excellence, Mr. François Hollande, Président de la République Française.

Mr. Le président,

En Novembre 2012, vous avez fait une déclaration félicitant le président Alpha Condé pour les soi-disant performances économiques de la Guinée ainsi que les réformes des forces de sécurité. À cette occasion, notre organisation, Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djallon, vous avait adressé une lettre exprimant notre inquiétude sur le satisfecit et la caution morale que vous aviez donnés à Mr. Condé, tant votre appréciation était en porte-à-faux avec les réalités sur le terrain. Deux années après, alors que vous vous apprêtez à faire un bref séjour en Guinée, nous avons l’honneur de vous adresser encore une lettre pour vous exprimer notre préoccupation sur la détérioration de la situation dans notre pays.

Avant tout, à travers votre personne, nous voudrions adresser au peuple français, nos sentiments de gratitudes pour le support que la France a octroyé à la Guinée  dans le combat contre l’épidémie d’Ébola. Ce geste s’inscrit dans la longue tradition de coopération entre nos deux pays  que les vicissitudes politiques n’auront pas pu détériorer. En d’autres circonstances, Pottal-Fii-Bhantal Fouta-Djallon aurait appelé avec enthousiasme à une forte mobilisation pour que votre visite soit non seulement célébrée  mais aussi un tremplin pour une plus fructueuse  coopération. Toutefois, depuis notre lettre de 2012, la situation en Guinée n’a fait qu’empirer. Tous les observateurs s’accordent sur le fait que la Guinée est devenue un pays à haut-risques avec tous les facteurs d’une guerre civile, voire d’un génocide. La misère grandissante des populations est le terreau sur lequel le gouvernement sème des tensions sociales et ethniques artificielles pour détourner l’attention des citoyens.

L’arrivée au pouvoir de Mr. Alpha Condé, en dépit des irrégularités et des violences  qui marquèrent la campagne présidentielle, avait fait espérer que la Guinée allait rompre avec son passé de violence politique. Force est de constater qu’en trois ans, Mr. Alpha Condé a ruiné le capital politique que les élections lui avaient donné. Mr. Condé a renforcé la culture d’impunité qui, pour se perpétuer, a besoin d’exacerber le clientélisme ethnocentrique.  Pour se maintenir, le régime s’est condamné à s’assurer la complicité d’officiers militaires accusés de crimes contre l’humanité  pour leur participation dans les tueries et viols de Septembre 2009. Du fait de ce laxisme, il est possible que dans la garde d’honneur en charge de vous accueillir  à Conakry, il y ait des officiers responsables de ces crimes. Mr. Condé est resté sourd aux appels internationaux et aux demandes multiples des citoyens guinéens, notamment des victimes et de leur familles, pour démettre les accusés de crimes contre l’humanité de leurs fonctions officielles. En Octobre 2014, Mr. Condé a indiqué avoir demandé aux «blancs» d’abandonner le dossier du 28 Septembre. Il marque ainsi son  explicite opposition à toute poursuite  du processus judiciaire contre les auteurs de ces crimes. À cette  troublante provocation s’ajoutent de nombreux crimes  par les forces de sécurité du président Condé. À ce jour aucun officier n’a été inculpé pour les crimes  contre des dizaines de manifestants dans la préparation des élections législatives ni ceux qui les suivirent. À Zogota, des populations furent massacrées dans leur sommeil suite à une demande de compensation pour leurs terres par le gouvernement. Des jeunes innocents furent kidnappés à Conakry par les forces de sécurité, sans aucun motif, et déferrés dans des conditions atroces au nord du pays. Certains succombèrent aux tortures. Récemment, c’est une personnalité politique de l’opposition qui fut exécutée en plein jour à Conakry. La tragédie de Womey et la répression qui suivit, en pleine crise d’Ébola restent un point saillant de la défaillance de Mr. Condé dont le laxisme a favorisé la propagation de l’épidémie en Afrique de l’Ouest. Le tissu social guinéen est plus que jamais fragilisé. Le  pacte citoyen indispensable au maintien de la paix civile et à l’émergence  de toute démocratie a été dissout.

Durant les trois années  à la tête de notre pays, Mr. Alpha Condé a exhibé des formes désolantes de mépris des guinéens.  En même temps,  il  montre une inquiétante propension à n’écouter que les opinions des dirigeants des pays occidentaux auxquels il  croit devoir la sauvegarde de son pouvoir. Ayant dilapidé la confiance à lui faite de diriger son pays, Mr. Condé  déploie des efforts considérables pour faire croire qu’il a l’assentiment des dirigeants de l’occident.  D’importants moyens financiers sont utilisés pour payer des lobbyistes et pour s’attirer le soutien de personnalités internationales telles que Georges Soros, Tony Blair et Bernard Kouchner dont il exploite les ambitions, politiques ou financières.  C’est à ce titre  que nous vous adressons cette lettre. Nous voudrions en appeler à votre responsabilité personnelle  et de celle de la France, afin d’amener Mr. Alpha Condé à changer le cap de sa politique ruineuse, pendant qu’il est encore temps.  Comme  notre organisation l’a maintes fois réitéré, le mépris des victimes, l’entretien d’un climat provocateur d’impunité et l’arrogance de criminels reconnus sont les sources des guerres civiles. La France ne peut certes pas être tenue responsable d’éventuelles confrontations en Guinée. Mais du fait des rapports historiques, économiques et culturels qui lient la France et la Guinée, nous pensons qu’il est de votre devoir de profiter de votre rencontre avec le président guinéen pour aider à changer le cours dangereux de l’histoire dans notre pays.

Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue en terre guinéenne et vous prions de croire à nos sentiments de très haute distinction.

LA COMMISSION CENTRALE DE POTTAL-FII-BHANTAL FOUTA-DJALLON

Assessing Risks of State-Led Mass Killing: Guinea is 13th Out of 163 Countries Which Pose Risk

Those who follow Guinea will be interested in a post by Jay Ulfelder on his blog, “Dart-Throwing Chimp,” published today and entitled, “A New Statistical Approach to Assessing Risks of State-Led Mass Killing.”
Scroll down to the end of the post to see the dot plot for the data which shows Guinea is 13th out of 163 countries demonstrating such risk.

Here is the opening paragraph of Jay’s post:

Which countries around the world are currently at greatest risk of an onset of state-led mass killing? At the start of the year, I posted results from a wiki survey that asked this question. Now, here in heat-map form are the latest results from a rejiggered statistical process with the same target. You can find a dot plot of these data at the bottom of the post, and the data and code used to generate them are on GitHub.”
Two primary examples of state-led killing of hundreds in Guinea:  January 2007 labor-opposition march (the video is a bit blurry but, trust me, what the video lacks, the audio makes up for) and September 28, 2009 opposition rally.  Videos follows:

Human Rights Groups to Guinea Gov’t: Bring in Dadis Camara for Questioning About Sept. 28, 2009 Massacre and Rapes

SEPT28BODIESCOLLECTING  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.

fidh 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.

Background:
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.

http://www.fidh.org

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

Guinea Update 4-9: Former Junta Leader, Capt. Dadis Camara, in Morocco to Collect His Mother’s Remains, Next Stop — Guinea

DADISTOUMBALEFT:  MILITARY JUNTA LEADER, CAPT. DADIS CAMARA

ON RIGHT:  ABUBAKAR “TOUMBA” DIAKITE, CMDR., PRESIDENTIAL GUARD, who shot Camara in the head in December 2009, which Camara survived

After much drama associated with whether or not Alpha Conde would allow Camara to return to Guinea to bury his mother, who died a few days ago, we get word that Camara has left Ougadougou to go to Morocco to collect his mother’s remains and then travel to Guinea for the burial.

Camara became leader of the military junta that took over after President Lansana Conte died in 2008. It was under Camara’s watch that the September 28, 2009, massacre occurred and he is under indictment at the International Criminal Court for associated crimes against humanity. In December 2009, one of Camara’s associates shot him in the head and, although gravely wounded, he survived the attack. Whether it was a planned assassination attempt or something to simply incapacitate him is unclear, but it did achieve the objective of getting him out of Guinea and to Morocco where he was transferred for treatment. In early, 2010, Camara was transferred to Burkina Faso to remain under the watchful eye of President Blaise Compare during his convalescence. Compare’s reputation as the one responsible for the murder of his best friend and then-president, Thomas Sankara, in 1987, must have given Camara pause as he was transferred there against his will. He has been in Ougadougou ever since and was forbidden from attending his son’s funeral in August 2010.

Conde put up a fight against Camara’s return to Guinea for his mother’s funeral. Unconfirmed reports yesterday suggest that when Alpha Conde first considered Camara’s return, he decided to stop his departure from Ouagadougou, by contacting the International Criminal Court (ICC) and asking that the outstanding arrest warrant be launched to keep him in Burkina Faso.

Then Conde did an about-face, not because he realized he was in the wrong, but perhaps he saw an opportunity. Conde had his staff contact and bring in to Conakry several sages from the Forest, Dadis Camara’s home region. The sages asked that Conde allow Camara to return for his mother’s funeral. Conde agreed, in response to the sages’ requests, not Camara’s. Why is Conde so tense about Camara’s return, but is now allowing it? He says it’s because Camara presence in the country could result in social upheaval. The real fear, though, is that Camara will talk about a lot of things that Conde, and others, wish he would not. Conde’s about-face may signal that he has better control over what happens to Camara while he is on Guinean soil.

While Camara is viewed as responsible for the September 28, 2009 massacre, there are high-level politicians and military officials who Camara will implicate given the opportunity. Camara is not about to take the whole rap himself. Sooner or later, Dadis will tell all about connections which Konate and Conde have to the September 28, 2009, massacre. Further, he will likely implicate both in the plot to assassinate him in December 2009. Perhaps, Conde’s calling in the ICC on Camara, didn’t seem like such a good idea after all. Who knows, maybe the head prosecutor has already opened a file on Conde.

Capt. Dadis Camara left Ouagadougou last night and is in Casablanca, Morocco now. He will lay his mother to rest this Sunday.

STAY TUNED . . .

News Flash: Captain Dadis Camara leaves Ouagadougou to go to collect the remains of his mother in Morocco

(Google translation to English)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 1:16 p.m.

Three years after his arrival in Ouagadougou the capital of Burkina Faso, Captain Dadis Camara has left his place of confinement for Morocco to collect the remains of his mother died a few days earlier.

Corroborating sources, the successor to Conté chartered a flight with a handful of close relatives and guards to Morocco where it will take another flight to N’zérékoré by going through the Guinean capital Conakry or the Liberian capital Monrovia.

It is a sigh of relief to see that Dadis Camara her mother before she was last home join in his native village Koulet, a village in the prefecture of N’zérékoré.

We will return in more detail on this information in future editions.

Aly Soumah www.guinee58.com , Conakry

Sixth Anniversary of 1/22/07, Massacre in Guinea: One of Many State Crimes Not Prosecuted and No Pressure from International Community to Do So (VIDEO)

The following video chronicles a horrible massacre which took place on January 22, 2007, when hundreds of peaceful, unarmed demonstrators were summarily executed by Guinean troops, supplemented with troops from Guinea-Bissau.

The goal of the demonstration was to protest Guinea’s appalling economic conditions and consisted of many union leaders and members who, along with others, were in opposition to the policies of the government of Lansana Conte.

Time after time, Guineans have witnessed how their unpopular governments, at odds with the people, have resorted to mass murder in an attempt to extinguish dissent. Another horrible massacre took place on September 28, 2009, when Guineans marched in opposition to the military junta of Dadis Camara. As in the case of the 2007 massacre, hundreds killed, thousands injured and hundreds of women raped.

No serious government investigation has been conducted regarding either massacre. With the longstanding and pervasive atmosphere of impunity in Guinea, this is not surprising. Further, it seems illogical to have the perpetrators of state violence, and those who commanded them, investigating themselves.

Guinean eyes turned to the international community to apply pressure on international criminal tribunals to prosecute crimes the Government of Guinea steadfastly ignored. The less than enthusiastic response from the international community said it all. It could not provide moral leadership in this case because any prosecution of state military perpetrators would upset a delicate apple cart that would spill into a military coup, sending international investors running fast and far away from Guinea. Essentially, the people of Guinea were betrayed and left in a state of “no justice, no peace.” If interested in reading more about this topic, please see “Preventive Diplomacy:  The International Community’s Betrayal of the People of Guinea”

Human Rights Watch Makes the Case Why International Community Needs to Step Up on September 28 Massacre and Rape Case (EN-FR)

Claude Pivi, Guinean Minister of Presidential Security and a Primary Perpetrator of the September 28 Massacre and Rapes
Claude Pivi, Guinean Minister of Presidential Security and a Primary Perpetrator of the September 28 Massacre and Rapes

Of all the international human rights organizations, only Human Rights Watch (HRW) has kept a constant, close eye on Guinea beginning with the September 28, 2009 massacre and rapes to the state-sponsored violence during the 2010 presidential campaign and during this most recent period of Alpha Conde’s stunning governance of impunity. It has been three years since the massacre and Guinea has clearly demonstrated that it meets the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) criteria for the ICC to take the case over — it is” unable or unwilling to prosecute the case.” In the September 28 case, both of these conditions apply.

In February 2012, Fatou Bensouda, who would become the Head Prosecutor at the ICC four months later, paid Alpha Conde and other government officials a visit to deliver a stern message: either Guinea get on with the investigation and prosecution of the case, or the ICC would take it over. That was ten months ago. And, now it is Human Rights Watch’s turn to bang the Guinean government over the head. HRW has been consistent in calling for the international community to pressure the Guinean government to conduct and conclude an investigation. This is important because the international community has much to do with whether the case goes to the ICC. But, the international community is loathe to apply pressure on Guinea about the case and unlikely to call for a transfer to the ICC. Why? The massacre and rapes of September 28 were committed by Guinean state security officers under orders of the ruling junta headed by Dadis Camara. If Guinea were to engage in a bald-faced investigation, it would lead directly to both civilian and military men who sit as members of Conde’s cabinet and others in high positions of the Guinean government. The international community is reluctant to go out on such a limb. During the 2010 election, the gross fraud and brutal violence, aimed at disenfranchising Peuls, were committed under the orders of interim president, General Sekouba Konate, and accomplished with little objection by the international community. Why should the September 28 case be any different? In both cases the international community was not willing to upset Guinea’s lucrative mining cart to stand up for the rule of law and human rights. Prosecuting military men for gross crimes would only raise the ire of all security forces who might be inclined to destabilize the country, negatively affecting business investment.

HRW knows this case belongs at the ICC and its report on what Guinea is not doing concerning the case, is one of the rungs that must be climbed to point it in the direction of the Hague.

But, this won’t happen unless citizens in the EU, France, and US apply pressure to their governments demanding that it be done.

If there is any doubt that Guinea is stalling on this case, this should clear it up – the Guinean court dealing with the September 28 case was shut down between May and September this year (after Bensouda’s personally-delivered ultimatum) because of lack of pencils, pens, paper and furniture. With all of Guinea’s mining revenue and Conde can’t come up with a few office supplies?

Guinea: Step Up Efforts to Ensure Justice for Stadium Massacre
Important Test Case for International Community to Promote Domestic Accountability

December 5, 2012

Related Materials:

Waiting for Justice

Bloody Monday

Victims of the horrific abuses on September 28, 2009, are waiting for justice more than three years later. President Alpha Condé and other Guinean officials have said they support accountability, but they need to better translate the rhetoric into action. Credible prosecutions would be a major contribution in moving Guinea to an era marked by respect for rule of law.

Elise Keppler, senior international justice counsel

(Conakry) – The Guinean government should increase support to the domestic investigation of the September 28, 2009 massacre, rapes, and other abuses to enable fair, credible prosecutions of the crimes without further delay, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The conclusion is based on extensive research and analysis of the factors holding up the investigation. International partners – including the European Union (EU), United States, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – also should increase pressure and support for justice to be done.
The 58-page report, “Waiting for Justice: Accountability before Guinea’s Courts for the September 28, 2009 Stadium Massacre, Rapes, and Other Abuses,” analyzes Guinea’s efforts to hold those responsible for the crimes to account. On that day, several hundred members of Guinea’s security forces burst into a stadium in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, and opened fire on tens of thousands of opposition supporters peacefully gathered there. By late afternoon, at least 150 Guineans lay dead or dying, and dozens of women had suffered brutal sexual violence, including individual and gang rape. More than three years later, those implicated have yet to be held accountable.
“Victims of the horrific abuses on September 28, 2009, are waiting for justice more than three years later,” said Elise Keppler, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. “President Alpha Condé and other Guinean officials have said they support accountability, but they need to better translate the rhetoric into action. Credible prosecutions would be a major contribution in moving Guinea to an era marked by respect for rule of law.”
The report is based on research in Conakry in June 2012 and follow-up interviews with government officials, lawyers and other legal practitioners, civil society members, journalists, victims, and internationalpartners.
Cases involving serious crimes are often sensitive and need resources that are scarce, Human Rights Watch said. But lack of justice can carry high costs by potentially fueling renewed abuses that are devastating for the population and national development. Impunity for human rights violations has been a persistent problem in Guinea over decades.
In February 2010, a Guinean prosecutor appointed a panel of judges to investigate the crimes.
More than 200 victims have been interviewed, and charges have been filed against at least seven people, including Guinea’s minister in charge of fighting drug trafficking and organized crime and the health minister at the time of the crimes. The Guinean government also recently accepted the appointment of an international expert offered by the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to support the accountability effort.
However, the investigation has yet to be completed more than three years after the crimes were committed, and numerous victims have yet to be given an opportunity to provide statements to the judges. The judges also have yet to interview at least two key suspects – the president at the time the crimes were committed, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, and Captain Claude “Coplan” Pivi – and witnesses who are not suspects who are members of Guinea’s security services.

In 2011 and 2012, Guinea’s Justice Ministry took upward of a year to begin to address the investigative panel’s lack of basic supplies, including pens and paper, and equipment. As a result, the work of the panel was effectively halted from May to September 2012, after which the judges resumed work when an additional stipend and computer were provided. Limited security, competing professional responsibilities, and the fact that key suspects have not been placed on leave from government posts pose additional challenges.

In addition, Guinean judicial police have yet to provide the judges access to an identified possible mass grave, and a request by the judges to interview the former president in Burkina Faso about the crimes remains outstanding. Meanwhile, some suspects have already been in pretrial detention longer than the two years permitted by Guinean law.

“The investigation has made some important strides, but the Guinean government needs to provide greater support if it is to be successfully concluded,” Keppler said.

Human Rights Watch called for the Guinean government – the president and justice minister in particular – to meet a number of key benchmarks to ensure that the panel of investigative judges can operate effectively. The government should make sure the judges have adequate resources and security; facilitate the appointment of relevant international experts; place key suspects on leave from their government posts, especially where they could interfere with investigations; and work to enable them to interview former President Dadis Camara.

In addition, the judges should swiftly deal with any illegal pretrial detention of suspects, bringing those who need to remain in pretrial detention to speedy trial and releasing any others. The justice minister also should initiate a witness and victim protection and support plan and support law reform, including making crimes against humanity domestic crimes and abolishing the death penalty.

The report also calls for greater international support for fair and credible prosecutions for the September 28 crimes.

The report found that the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict have made vital contributions in pressing for justice for the September 28, 2009 crimes. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also has raised concerns and provided some informal supplies to the judges, but it should take a more active role in pressing the government to ensure that the investigative panel can function effectively.

Key governments and intergovernmental players – including the EU, US, and France – should substantially increase public and private diplomacy with Guinean officials to press for justice and ensure that judges can work effectively. In addition, these players should invite requests for financial and technical assistance for efforts such as witness and victim protection and support, forensic investigation, training, and law reform. International partners do not appear to be providing any direct support for investigating and prosecuting the September 28 crimes.

ICC states parties and the United Nations notably have increasingly expressed commitments to identify ways to help promote accountability before domestic courts. This would maximize what the ICC calls complementarity, whereby the court only intervenes when national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute. Accountability efforts in Guinea provide an important opportunity to advance this goal, Human Rights Watch said.

In October 2009, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor placed the situation in Guinea – which had joined the ICC in 2003 – under preliminary examination.

Some Guinean civil society and victims have indicated that they are waiting for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the September 28, 2009 crimes so that those responsible can be held to account.

Whether the ICC may open an investigation in Guinea is an open question under the ICC’s complementarity principle. But even if the ICC were to open an investigation, its scope would be limited since it is based thousands of miles away in the Netherlands, and only focuses on suspects with greatest alleged levels of responsibility, and on genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

“Guinea’s domestic investigation is a potentially important test case for the international community to help ensure accountability at the domestic level,” Keppler said. “Guinea’s international partners should use encouragement, pressure, and support to maximize its prospects to provide justice for the stadium massacre.”

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