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Families of murdered Guinean protesters await justice after 7 years

Families of murdered Guinean protesters await justice after 7 years


Justice has been delayed for the over 150 people murdered, thousands injured and more than 100 women raped during an opposition protest against Guinea’s military junta in the capital Conakry on September 28, 2009.

For six years since an investigation was launched in the country in February 2010, many questions have not been answered and no one has been punished for the massacre.

A little over a dozen high-level military officials suspected of leading the massacre have been charged but none has been tried including Captain Moussa Dadis Camara who seized power in 2008 when long-time leader Lansana Conte died.

Captain Camara had denied involvement in the massacre saying he had no control over the soldiers involved.

“We recognize the progress made, but we anxiously await the day those responsible for the murder and rape of our loved ones will have their day in court,” President of the Association of Victims, Parents, and Friends of September 28, Asmaou Diallo was quoted by a Human Rights Watch report on Tuesday.

Diallo’s rights organisation is among six other organizations calling for justice ahead of the seventh anniversary of the massacre.

The other organisations are the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, the Guinean Organization for the Defense of Human and Citizens’ Rights (OGDH), Equal Rights for All (MDT), and the Coalition of Human Rights Defense Organizations (CODDH).

“The government of Guinea should give its strongest support to the investigative panel to complete its work so that those responsible for the stadium massacre can be tried without delay,” associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Corinne Dufka said.

Progress in justice

Besides the charges against high-level officials, the Guinean judges have heard the testimony of over 400 victims and their family members, witnesses and members of the security services.

The six rights groups identified some outstanding evidence gathered from the inquiry including a key witness who led to a key suspect who helped locate “mass graves believed to contain the bodies of about 100 victims who remain unaccounted for”.

“Witnesses allege that the security forces engaged tried to hide the evidence of their crimes and misrepresented the number of people killed,” they added in their statement with the belief that the evidence gathered is enough to conclude the investigation.

Bloody September 28, 2009

The opposition had decided to stage a demonstration on September 28 fueled by suspected participation of junta leader Camara in the next presidential election in January 2010 breaking his earlier promise.

On that bloody morning after thousands marched to the Conakry stadium, security forces opened fire on the anti-government protesters while others were stabbed, beaten and women raped and sexually abused by soldiers in the stands.

Their offence?

The estimated 50,000 people had defied a ban on rallies and joined the protest against Camara, who seized power in a bloodless coup on December 24, 2008.

Massacre Aftermath

Not long after the stadium massacre, Moussa Dadis Camara went into exile in Burkina Faso where he still lives following an assassination attempt in December 2009.

His vice president, Mamadouba Toto Camara, who has also been charged for the massacre, oversaw the handover to civilian rule after the 2010 elections won by veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde.