Human Rights Watch wants justice for massacre, rape victims in Guinea

posted in: Africa

Guinean women – Photo: IRIN

PANA

Lagos, Nigeria – Those responsible for the 2009 stadium massacre, rapes, and other abuses by security forces in Guinea have yet to be brought to account four years after the crimes were committed, Human Rights Watch said Friday, a day ahead of the fourth anniversary of the dastardly act.

“Four years on, the victims and their families are still waiting for justice for the heinous abuses committed on and around September 28, 2009,” Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“The investigation is stymied largely, it seems, because the government simply is not providing the backing it needs to get the job done,” Keppler said.

According to the New York-based rights group, a domestic investigation has been stymied by insufficient support by the Guinean government.

In particular, it said, the government should contact the Burkina Faso authorities to resolve the judges’ outstanding request to interview the former Guinean president, who is living there.

HRW said the Guinean government should place high-level suspects on leave from government posts pending investigation.

On 28 Sept. 2009, several hundred members of Guinea’s security forces burst into a stadium in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, and opened fire on tens of thousands of opposition supporters peacefully gathered there. By late afternoon, at least 150 Guineans lay dead or dying, and dozens of women had suffered brutal sexual violence, including individual and gang rape.

In February 2010, a domestic panel of judges was appointed to investigate the 28 Sept. 2009 crimes. The panel has made a number of important strides, including interviewing more than 300 victims.

Charges also have been filed against several high-ranking officials, including Capt. Claude “Coplan” Pivi, who was at the time and remains the minister of presidential security; Col. Abdoulaye Cherif Diaby, the health minister at the time; and Moussa Tiégboro Camara, who was then and remains the minister in charge of fighting drug trafficking and organized crimes.

HRW said, however, that four years after the crimes, the investigation has yet to be concluded, and lack of political and financial support is a major challenge.

It said some suspects have been in pretrial detention longer than the two years Guinean law permits.