Closing Statements at the 28 September Killings Trial in Conakry

Press release
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The trial of the eleven (11) defendants accused of taking part in the 28 September 2009 killings enters a new phase, that of the closing arguments. Fourteen lawyers are representing the victims and the civil parties organizations supporting them which include the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisations in Guinea: the Organisation Guinéenne des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen (OGDH) and the Association des Victimes, Parents et Amis (AVIPA). The trial opened on 28 September 2022. Among the eleven (11) defendants are a former president and senior members of his government.

Paris, Conakry, 13 May 2024. More than 750 victims supported by three organisations of civil parties, FIDH, OGDH and AVIPA, and represented by twelve Guinean and two international lawyers. Eleven defendants, 106 victim accounts and 133 hearings since proceedings began. The trial held in Conakry is groundbreaking. It is of historical significance because a former president is among the defendants and it is a very lengthy trial. It will mark a turning point on the African continent and may well serve as a model for other judicial proceedings.

The closing arguments were preceded by other crucial phases in a trail that is taking place in a peculiar political context, marked by the escape of the main defendant and three other defendants on the night of Friday, 3 November 2023. The spectacular episode was short-lived; three of the fugitives were quickly apprehended and returned to prison, but a fourth remains at large. The event, however, points to the flaws in the fragile State apparatus, which does not offer the fullest guarantees for the safety of those involved in the trial, especially the victims.

Notwithstanding, the 133 sessions of the trial have clearly established that killings were indeed perpetrated on 28 September 2009 and in the days that followed, and that there were victims who suffered immeasurable harm as a result. This has given victims good reason to hope that they will obtain justice.

According to Drissa Traore, a lawyer and Secretary General of the FIDH, "[...]the closing arguments phase is important in this trial, which has lasted several months, because it signals that the verdict is imminent; it will mark the culmination of several years of commitment, concern, expectations and, above all, hope".

Souleymane Bah, President of the OGDH, declared that, "The closing arguments are an opportunity for us to express once again our deep empathy for the victims and their families at this moment of truth, which is crucial for justice, truth, and above all, for the healing of the very deep wounds inflicted on Guinean society".

"We must insist yet again on the need to hold the perpetrators of these atrocities to account through [a] fair and transparent justice [system], regardless of their status or political position," said Asmaou Diallo, President of AVIPA.


On 28 September 2009, in response to a call to organise a rally from the Forces Vives, approximately 50,000 people gathered at the 28 September stadium in Conakry to demonstrate against the likely candidacy of Moussa Dadis Camara. Shortly before noon, several hundred members of the Guinean security forces, including members of the presidential guard known as the "red berets", opened fire on tens of thousands of people who had gathered peacefully. The bloody repression provoked shock and horror: 156 people were killed and 109 women were victims of rape or other forms of sexual violence, including sexual mutilation and sexual slavery. Scores of people are still missing.

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