State attorney opens two indictments on complaints concerning serious human rights violations perpetrated in 2007 and 2010
Following two complaints and a claim for criminal compensation filed before the Guinean courts by FIDH and its member organisation in Guinea, the OGDH, on 18 May 2011, the state attorney opened two indictments on these matters on 29 May 2012. This act sees the commencement of judicial investigations into serious human rights violations perpetrated by Guinean state actors in 2007 and 2010. It is hoped that the authors of these crimes will now be held to account before law and victims accorded due compensation.
"With the official opening of these investigations and by agreeing to look into past political violence, the Guinean justice system is sending a strong and positive signal", said Mr Patrick Baudoin, FIDH Honorary President, and head of its Legal Action Group. "The speed with which the justice system has reacted to the registration of these complaints also seems to demonstrate its willingness to establish truth and deliver justice while facing a painful past", Thierno Maadjou Sow, OGDH President added.
Our organisations consider that the opening of these investigations on the same grounds as the complaints filed by the plaintiffs is a further step towards eradicating impunity for perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed in Guinea. Guinean justice must now work steadily and with complete independence in order to progress these three major cases which concern serious and symptomatic human rights violations and in which FIDH and OGDH are plaintiffs on behalf of 65 victims of the repression of peaceful demonstrations in 2007, torture in 2010, and of course, events in Conakry Stadium on 28 September 2009.
"Justice must now continue all the way through to reinstate victims' rights and get Guinea moving forward", declared FIDH President, Ms. Souhayr Belhassen. "However, some things appear to be changing in Guinea: namely, the possibility that justice will no longer be the tool and possession of the dominant power but rather an independent authority, before which all citizens can be held accountable for their actions, irrespective of position or status" she added.
On 18 May 2012, FIDH and OGDH, already plaintiffs in a suit concerning the 28 September 2009 Conakry Stadium massacre, filed two additional cases and a claim for criminal compensation with the courts in Guinean. In doing so, they acted on behalf of 65 victims of serious human rights violations, perpetrated by Guinean state actors. Each individual action seeks to establish the facts and lines of responsibility behind political violence that erupted during peaceful demonstrations in January and February 2007, and the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of 15 people in Conakry in October 2010, respectively. The proceedings concerning the events of October 2010 directly implicate a number of political and military officials in office at that time, namely the current Governor of Conakry and Commandant of the Guinean Army, Mr. Sékou Resco Camara; former Chief of Defense Staff for the transitional regime, General Nouhou Thiam; and the former Chief of the Presidential Guard to the transitional regime, Commandant Sidiki Camara, known as De Gaulle.
In January and February 2007, civil society and the trade unions led significant peaceful demonstrations throughout the country in favour of purchasing power and a Welfare State. These demonstrations were severely repressed by the security forces of the waning power of Lansana Conté; the death toll is estimated to be in the hundreds, while hundreds of other victims were subjected to injury, rape and looting. These serious human rights violations were not the subject of any conclusive official investigation, nor of any judicial inquiry that would have shed some light on one of Guinea's most violent political repressions in recent years.
According to information passed to those working in the justice sector, in October 2010, members of the presidential guard of the then acting President of the transitional government, arrested and arbitrarily detained several individuals. These persons suffered torture in the presence and upon the instructions of Mr. Sékou Resco Camara, General Nouhou Thiam and Commandant Sidiki Camara, alias De Gaulle. These crimes were perpetrated by people in charge of public authority and occurred during the second round presidential campaign, though were not directly related to it. Nevertheless, these violations remain symptomatic of the arbitrary practices that are the legacy of half a century of political violence and impunity in Guinea.
The opening of these proceedings ensues from several important steps taken in the last months by Guinean state to combat impunity and move towards the establishment of a Welfare State. They notably include the indictment of Lieutenant-Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara for his suspected role in the 28 September 2009 Conakry Stadium massacre, and the imposition of a symbolic fine on Commandant Sékou Resco Camara on 30 November 2011, for ordering the arbitrary detention of five human rights defenders.