Guinea: High-Level Charges in 2009 Massacre
Human Rights Watch
3 July 2013
On 28 September 2009, members of Guinea’s security forces opened fire on thousands of civilians peacefully protesting in a stadium in the country’s capital of Conakry. Over 150 Guineans were killed and dozens of women suffered brutal sexual violence. Shortly thereafter, an International Commission of Inquiry, established by the UN, concluded that government forces had committed crimes against humanity and identified several individuals who held specific responsibility for crimes committed that day. One such individual was Lt. Col. Claude “Coplan” Pivi, Guinea’s minister for presidential security.
Guinea’s domestic panel of judges investigating the country’s 2009 stadium massacre and rapes has taken a significant step in charging a high-level suspect, who is expected to be questioned by the judges on July 4. Given the potential for interference with the investigation, the government should place the suspect on leave and take additional measures to protect judges, witnesses, and victims.
The suspect, Lt. Col. Claude “Coplan” Pivi, is Guinea’s minister for presidential security, a position he also held at the time of the 2009 crimes. Media reports said that Pivi was charged with murder, rape, arson, looting, destruction of buildings, and complicity. (…)
Human Rights Watch, a United Nations-supported International Commission of Inquiry, and other independent human rights organizations identified Pivi as someone whose possible role in the crimes should be investigated. (…)
The panel of judges has made important progress in the investigation. They have interviewed more than 200 victims and charged at least 8 people, including Pivi and other high-ranking military officers. (…)
However, the investigation has been plagued by lack of material support and concerns about security for the judges. The investigation has yet to be completed nearly four years later. Some suspects have already been in pretrial detention longer than the two years permitted by Guinean law. (…)
“Victims in Guinea are desperate to see justice for the heinous crimes of September 28, 2009, and the days immediately following,” Keppler said. “Fair investigation and prosecution are essential to bring redress to the victims and to signal a definitive end to longstanding impunity for abuses by members of the security services.”
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For more resources on the crisis in Guinea, visit the ICRtoP website.