Guinea - Colonel Claude PIVI indicted in the case of 28 September 2009 massacre: a big step for the Guinean justice

Press release
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Colonel Claude Pivi, Head of the Presidential Security, was formally indicted yesterday by the investigating judges in charge of the case of the 28 September 2009 massacre at Conakry stadium. General Ibrahima Balde, High Commander of the national Gendarmerie testified on 26 June 2013. Our organisations welcome this indictment, which has been long awaited by the civil parties and marks significant progress for the judicial process of the Guinean justice system.

The three judges, in charge of investigating the 28 September 2009 massacre case since 1 February 2010, have charged Colonel Claude Pivi for his role in the 28 September 2009 events that took place at Conakry stadium, where at least 157 people were killed and hundreds of women were raped. Mr. Pivi will now have to be heard on the merits, probably as soon as next week.

"Since the beginning of the investigation, the victims we assist in this procedure have feared that Mr. Pivi would escape justice due to his duties and his position in the military hierarchy. Yesterday, the judges have taken the first step by formally charging him. Mr. Pivi is presumed innocent and he will now be able to prepare his defence, but it’s a first victory for the plaintiffs in this case and, more broadly, in the fight against impunity in Guinea," said Mr. Thierno Sow, OGDH President.

Mr. Pivi was appointed Minister of the Presidential Security by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, head of the Guinean military junta, between December 2008 and January 2010. Since then he has been kept at the head of this elite unit, and he is still leading it today. According to the International Commission of Inquiry report, set up after the facts, Mr. Claude Pivi is among those who "could be held criminally responsible for their involvement in the events of 28 September 2009 massacre and the the following days."

Our organisations, as civil parties in this case, have sent evidence to the judges that support the presence, and the potential liability of Mr. Pivi in the extremely serious events that occurred both near the stadium and in various districts of Conakry, on 28 September and the days that followed.

FIDH, OGDH, AVIPA and AFADIS who met with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in May 2013, had expressed concern regarding the judicial system sluggishness. The representatives of our organisations also reported as to the growing impatience of the victims, since nearly four years had passed since the events. The ICC, which has placed the situation in Guinea under a preliminary analysis since October 2009, led an eighth mission in Conakry in early June 2013 in order to assess the investigation’s progress and make recommendations.

"This case is an opportunity for the Guinean courts to judge those responsible for serious human rights violations. Guinea must seize this opportunity to restore victims’ rights and to enhance a judicial system that has suffered five decades of arbitrariness," said Mr. Drissa Traoré, FIDH Vice President.

However, due to the position currently held by Mr. Pivi, our organisations have expressed their concern about the equanimity of the judicial process, as well as the safety of participants and victims who testified in this case. As our organisations had recommended for Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Oumar Camara, indicted in February 2012, and Commander Sekou Resco Camara, Governor of Conakry, charged in in February 2013 in a torture case, who yet remain in their position we urge that stakeholders take all necessary measures to ensure the independence and impartiality of judicial processes in respect of the right to a fair trial. We therefore invite all stakeholders to consider excluding officials blamed for such exceptionally grave acts from the political scene.

FIDH, OGDH, AVIPA, and AFADIS emphasize the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution on Guinea, adopted during its 23rd regular session held in Geneva in June 2013, which encouraged Guinean Government to "support the work of the panel of judges and speed up the legal proceedings against those responsible for the events of 28 September 2009."

"Alpha Condé made 2013 the year of justice, which is a decision we welcome. Today, at the end of the first half of this year, the Guinean justice sends a strong signal with the indictment of Claude Pivi, as it did in February when it charged Commander Sékou Resco Camara in another case. However, the Guinean justice must go further, and the Government should give it even greater support so the December results will be positive. With the symbolic events of the fight against impunity of January and February 2007 and 28 September 2009, we can now add the violence that occurred in Conakry demonstrations in recent weeks," said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

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