U.N. Panel Calls for Court in Guinea Massacre
New York Times
21 December 2009
A United Nations panel investigating the massacre and rape of unarmed protesters in Guinea three months ago said in a report released Monday [December 21] that the nation’s military ruler and some of his adjutants should be referred to the International Criminal Court for “crimes against humanity.”
The 60-page report, compiled by three African legal experts, describes in gruesome detail the violence unleashed on what had been something of a festival of protest being held in a stadium in Conakry, the capital, on Sept. 28. (…)
Because some of the victims were found in mass graves, it is likely that the death toll was far higher, the report stated. (…)
Women were a particular target…France has asked that the Security Council take up the report, but Michel Kafango, the ambassador from Burkina Faso and the Council’s president this month, said that would have to wait until the report was translated from French.
The report described the attacks as “widespread and systematic,” which is the basis for crimes against humanity in international law. Because Guinea is a signatory to the International Criminal Court, the court does not have to await a referral from the Security Council, and the court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has said he has already started an investigation.
In an unusual tactic, the report singled out three people as bearing direct responsibility for the violence, because the attacks could not have happened without their orders: Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, the country’s leader; Lt. Aboubacar Chérif Diakité, known as Toumba, Captain Camara’s aide-de-camp and chief of the Presidential Guard; and a third officer, Moussa Thegboro Camara, who is in charge of the special services. The two aides were at the stadium during the massacre. (…)
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said in a statement that it was the responsibility of Guinea’s government to protect the victims and other witnesses who testified to the three-member Commission of Inquiry. (…)