Guinea: Time for Justice?

The candidacy of Moussa Dadis Camara must not be an obstacle to justice nor to the holding of peaceful presidential elections

5 months before the first round of the presidential elections, following the announcement of Moussa Dadis Camara’s candidacy, 22 Guinean civil society and international organisations recall that the former head of the military junta is still accountable to Guinean courts for his presumed implication in the September 28, 2009 massacre. The legal proceedings concerning the serious crimes committed on September 28, 2009 and the following days are still under way, as is recalled in a report entitled “Guinea: The time for Justice?” (in French) » published on this day by FIDH and OGDH on the occasion of a press conference in Conakry.

In a tense pre-electoral climate, civil society recalls that political violence, impunity and obstacles to the independence of justice are the causes of the serious human rights violations in Guinea that have been recurring for decades, and calls on the candidates in the presidential election to make human rights a priority by signing “ The ten commitments for human rights and a peaceful presidential election ” (in French).

The announcement on May 11, 2015 of the candidacy of Moussa Dadis Camara, former head of the military junta, in the 2015 presidential elections is a reminder that Guinea has not yet put behind it its past of political violence, precisely at a time when the opposition and the government are having difficulty in agreeing on the organisation of the voting, settling their differences in street demonstrations that have already led to 63 deaths and dozens of persons injured since 2010.

The return of Dadis Camara to the political arena is an insult to the victims of the September 28, 2009 Stadium massacre and to the whole of the Guinean population. He should be appearing before a court, not taking part in a presidential election. When he was in power, Dadis Camara broke each of the ten commitments to human rights and a peaceful presidential election that our organisations are today asking candidates to endorse, so that the 2015 elections can be a moment of non-violent democracy ”, declared Thierno Sow, OGDH President.

After the military coup at the end of 2008, Moussa Dadis Camara was Head of State and Commander in Chief of the armed forces, when, on September 28, 2009, members of the military and of the security forces massacred at least 156 persons and raped over a hundred women in the September 28 Stadium, during a peaceful demonstration. The International Commission of Inquiry mandated by the United Nations a few weeks after the events had found that, in view of his position as military head of State, his direct criminal liability could be presumed, even command liability, for the events that took place in the Stadium on September 28 and the following days.

“ Moussa Dadis Camara has already been heard as a witness, from Burkina Faso, and is today the object of a request for indictment issued by the Guinean courts. In such a context, it is unthinkable that he should envisage making a come-back on the Guinean political scene. For us the next step is that he should formally be charged, and that he should answer for his acts before a popular jury, along with the 13 others who have already been charged in the September 28, 2009, affair, declared Asmaou Diallo, AVIPA President.

In a report published this day, “Guinea, The Time for Justice?”, FIDH and OGDH review the progress of the investigations initiated by the Guinean courts in February 2010 on the September 28, 2009 massacre, particularly during recent months, and the prospects of future judiciary developments, concerning Moussa Dadis Camara in particular.

Our report reviews the progress made in the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes committed in Guinea. There have been many positive developments, some of them very recently. We also seek to voice the expectations of the victims, whose wish is that an irreproachable trial be held, in keeping with the seriousness of the crime committed, declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH Honorary President, during a mission to Conakry.

The report also reviews the legal proceedings concerning the acts of torture committed against 17 persons in October 2010 in the Hamdalaye working-class district ordered by high-ranking military for political reasons. The judicial investigation has demonstrated the presumed responsibility of the former chief of staff of the army, General Nouhou Thiam, and that of the former governor of Conakry, Major Sekou Resco Camara. This must now be confirmed by the Indictment Chamber. Our organisations solemnly call on the Guinean authorities to enable the trial to be held before the first round of the presidential elections.

Lastly, our organisations recall that truth and justice are essential elements of the national reconciliation process. The launching on March 25, 2015 of national consultations designed to permit the Guinean populations to have their say on the form a future Truth Commission should take is an important step, that must be put into practice without delay. Our organisations will participate in this important exercise, and call on the populations, the socio-professional organisations, the political parties and all the actors to take part in the consultations and to express their views on the mandate, the composition and their expectations regarding a future Truth Commission.

Download the report “Guinea: The Time for Justice?” (in French)

Signatories:
l’Organisation Guinéenne de défense des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen (OGDH), la Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), l’Association des Victimes, Parents et Amis du 28 septembre 2009 (AVIPA), l’Association des Victimes de la Répression (AVR), l’Association des Familles des Disparus du 28 septembre 2009 (AFADIS), la Coalition Nationale de Guinée pour le Droit et la Citoyenneté des Femmes (CONAG-DCF), le Collectif des Jeunes pour la Défense des Victimes de Violences (CoJeDeV), les Mêmes Droits pour Tous (MDT), Coordination des Organisations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (CODDH), Institut de Recherche sur la Démocratie et l’État de Droit (IRDED), Ligue guinéenne des droits de l’Homme (LIGUIDHO), Centre Mère et Enfant (CME), Fondation Internationale Tierno et Mariam (FITIMA), l’Afrique des Droits de l’Homme (AFRIDHO), Conseil National des Organisations de la Société Civile de Guinée (CNOSCG), Association Mère et Enfant (AME), Alliance des Médias pour les Droits de l’Homme (AMDH), SOS mineurs en prison, la Plateforme des Citoyens Unis pour le Développement (PCUD), Réseau Afrique Jeunesse de Guinée (RAJGUI), Forum Civil de Guinée, Avocats Sans Frontière - Guinée (ASF-Guinée).

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