Six rights organizations Monday called on Guinea to begin the trial of suspects who were involved in the massacre of more than 150 people and the rape of dozens of women in Guinea in 2009.
The victims were killed after Guinea’s security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of people who had gathered at a stadium in Conakry on Sept. 28 for a march against Moussa Dadis Camara’s intention to run for president.
Camara served as the president of Guinea’s National Council for Democracy and Development, which seized power in a military coup in December 2008 after the death of long-time President Lansana Conte.
In a statement, the rights groups said a recent coup in Guinea has complicated massacre justice.
“The trial should begin as soon as possible. Twelve years later, victims and their families should not have to wait any longer for justice to finally be delivered,” the statement said.
“As Guinea embarks on a political transition process after the Sept. 5 coup, the opening of this trial would send a strong signal that the authorities are willing to put respect for human rights and the fight against impunity at the center of their priorities.”
The rights groups included the Association of Victims, Relatives and Friends of September 28, 2009 (AVIPA), Equal Rights for All (MDT), the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
The previous Guinean government had promised to begin the trial no later than June 2020. But the organizations expressed concern over “an evident lack of will to complete preparations for this trial.”
“It is urgent for the trial to be held and reparations awarded before all the victims die. It is more than urgent for Guinea to put an end to the cycle of impunity that has deeply marked the country’s history for more than 60 years,” the groups said on the eve of 12th anniversary of the massacre.
There was no immediate reaction from the transitional government on the statement.
But Mamady Doumbouya, the head of the National Committee for Rally and Development (CNRD) who overthrew President Alpha Conde in a coup earlier this month, stated that “justice will be the compass guiding every Guinean citizen.”
The groups reminded the authorities that international law requires states to provide effective remedies to victims of human rights violations and that any lack of justice or the adoption of an amnesty for serious crimes is incompatible with these requirements.
“Fight against impunity should be at the heart of the authorities’ actions,” the rights groups said.