By Susan Kendi
For over a decade, the victims and families of those
raped and massacred in the stadium in Conakry, Guinea have never received
justice. June 2020 begins of the long-delayed trial to bring perpetrators to
During the country’s third universal periodic review
held in Geneva on January 21,2020, Guinea’s
Justice Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana, said that the Court that is
under construction is to be completes by May 2020 and hearings begin in June.
The move was welcomed by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Fatou
Bensouda during her speech on the situation in Guinea.
“Construction of the new courtroom in Conakry is an
important step towards holding long-awaited trial and to see justice done,”
Guinea’s Justice Minister has also affirmed of the
government’s support to ensure that the alleged perpetrators are held to
account for the crimes they committed. The country’s universal periodic reviews
have held in May 2010, January 2015 and January 2020 respectively.
September 28, 2009 is a date that ignites shivers and
re-opens wounds since many Guineans paid a high cost for championing for
democracy in their country. More than 150 people died, at least 109 women raped
and more than 1,000 injured after the police opened fire and indiscriminately
shot at peaceful demonstrators and raped women who had assembled at the stadium
to protest Captain Moussa Dadis Camara plans to run for presidential elections
in 2010 and calling for transparent elections in Guinea.
An investigation was launched in February 8, 2010 when
a domestic panel of judges were appointed to investigate the crimes committed.
The investigation concluded 7 years later, after which they charged a former
Guinean military leader, Abubakar “Toumba” Diakite and Guinea’s
ex-president Moussa “Dadis” Camara for their alleged role in the rapes and
massacre committed at the stadium. The slow progress of the investigation was
blamed on to political, financial and logistical challenges.
The Former Justice Minister Cheick Sako organised a
steering committee in April 2018 to ensure that matters regarding the trial are
In a report dated September 25, 2019 Amnesty
International disclosed that the steering committee organised by the former
Justice Minister Cheick Sako in April 2018 was supposed to meet weekly but has
only met “intermittently.”
The report added that the presiding and sitting judges
have not yet been appointed irrespective of the fact that the country’s Supreme
Court had rejected appeals with relation to the end of the investigation. The
trial date is yet to be scheduled.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Judges have heard
the testimonies of over 400 victims and family members and also questioned
witnesses who include members of the security services.
There are several pitfalls identified by human rights
organisations apart from the Amnesty report outlined above. Here are some
findings that raise eyebrows on whether the Government of Guinea will honour
their commitment to ensure victims get justice.
In a 10-day
investigation into the September 28, 2009 killings and rapes, Human Rights
Watch refuted the Guinea’s government claims that the massacre was
The organisation found new evidence that the massacre
and widespread sexual violence was organised.
The evidence which entail accounts from confidential
military sources and medical personnel revealed that “the military engaged in a systematic effort to hide the
evidence of their crimes and misrepresent the number killed during the events
of September 28.”
According to the report the forces in Guinea tried to cover evidence by
seizing bodies from the stadium and city’s morgues and burying them in
undisclosed mass graves.
“The serious abuses carried out in Guinea
on September 28 were clearly not the actions of a group of rogue, undisciplined
soldiers, as the Guinean government contends… They were premeditated, and top-level leaders must at the very least have been
aware of what was being planned, our investigation shows,” said Emergencies
director at Human Rights Watch, Peter Bouckaert.
As victims await justice, the country is on fire. The
government has been clamping down on protests resisting a new constitution
which paves way for the incumbent president Alpha Conde to run for presidency
in the coming elections scheduled for September this year.The president has not
responded to the allegations that he wants to run for a third term.
At least 17 people are said to have lost their lives,
six civil society activists and several journalists arrested and detained
during the protests that took place in October and November 2019.
Guinea is one of the countries under investigation at
the International Criminal Court.
Amnesty international report:
Rights Watch reports:
by the ICC Prosecutor (Fatou Bensouda) on the situation in Guinea: