Guinea: 13 years after the crimes, the trial of the 28 September 2009 massacre has been opened

Ophélie Léger-Kukansami - FIDH

Conakry, Paris, 8 September 2022 - Historic trial postponed to Tuesday 4th of October 2022. The defence invokes a late transmission of the case files.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Guinean Organisation for Human Rights (OGDH) and the Association of Victims, Relatives and Friends of the 28 September 2009 Events (AVIPA) welcome the opening of the trial of the 28 September 2009 massacre and urge the Guinean authorities to conduct a fair, impartial and transparent trial, respecting the rights of all parties.

"The opening of this emblematic trial marks a historic step in the fight against impunity in Guinea," said Mr Souleymane Bah, President of the OGDH. "We hope that this trial will demonstrate the capacity of national courts to deal with mass crimes, to restore the dignity of the victims and to offer them adequate reparation.”

On the 28th of September 2009 around fifty thousand people gathered at the Conakry Stadium to protest against Moussa Dadis Camara’s, then head of the military junta, intentions to run for president. he demonstration was severely repressed by the army, resulting in more than 150 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and numerous victims of sexual assault and enforced disappearances.

Constituted as civil parties since May 2010 alongside the victims, FIDH, its member organisation in Guinea, OGDH, and AVIPA have allowed the victims to be accompanied throughout the five years of the investigation procedure and to contribute to the prosecution of 13 individuals.

For Attorney Drissa Traoré, Secretary General of FIDH, Honorary President of the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH), "After many unfruitful calls regarding the conduct of this trial, we are pleased with its effective opening today. We remind the Guinean judicial authorities to take into account the recommendations made by the civil parties.”

On september 28, as this anniversary is commemorated, the presence of a large number of victims in court, as well as that of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan and Pramila Patten, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, demonstrates the stakes in the fight against impunity in Guinea, and gives hope in principle for the smooth running of the proceedings.

"The recent decisions taken by the authorities give us great hope that a fair, impartial and transparent trial will be held, respecting the rights of all parties," said Ms Asmaou Diallo, President of AVIPA. "We hope in the long run that the victims will be able to obtain justice and reparation."

However, FIDH, its member organization and partner recall that if the opening of the trial marks an important step in the process of obtaining reparation for the victims, the path to justice remains dependent on the respect of the rules of procedure allowing a proper unfolding of the trial.

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