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The U.N. Security Council expressed broad support Wednesday for
establishing an independent commission of inquiry to investigate
alleged human rights violations in Guinea last month during an
anti-government protest that turned deadly.
Human rights groups
and witnesses say that that during the September 28 rally in a stadium
in the capital, Conakry, protesters were shot, stabbed, raped and
beaten. They say at least 157 people were killed, a figure the
government says is inflated.
Last week, U.N. Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon announced he would establish an international commision of
inquiry to investigate the incidents and to hold the perpetrators
accountable. He dispatched one of his senior officials, Assistant
Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Haile Menkarios, to Conakry to
pursue setting up the commission.
On Wednesday, Menkarios
reported his findings to the Security Council in a closed-door session.
Afterwards, he told reporters that Guinea's military ruler, Captain
Moussa "Dadis" Camara has agreed to cooperate with the commission once
it is created.
"Both President Dadis Camara and his government -
the prime minister we met also - welcomed the establishment of the
commission of inquiry and promised that they were going to, not only
cooperate with it fully, including facilitate its work. And they have
expressed this in a written letter," said Menkarios.
said regional officials from the African Union and ECOWAS as well as
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, who is mediating among the
parties, also support the establishment of a commission, saying it will
contribute to peace and longer-term reconciliation in Guinea.
is tremendous, of course, expectation and support for the deployment of
the commission by the victims, by representatives of the opposition,
[and] by the public in Guinea," said Menkarios.
He said the U.N.
secretary-general wants the members of the commission selected and the
panel deployed as soon as possible. Menkarios did not know how long
that would take. But speculated that once on the ground, their
investigation could be complete within a month.
ambassador, Gerard Araud, said his delegation would draft a statement
of support to be agreed to by the Security Council.
Security Council today expressed very wide support to this idea of a
creation of a commission of inquiry," he said. "Some questions were,
of course, raised, but there was no opposition. We have also
expressed, of course, our support to the work of our African friends,
especially President Compaore."
Captain Camara has been under
intense international scrutiny over the deadly protest, which was in
response to his suggestion that he might break a pledge not to run in
next year's presidential elections.
African condemnation has
been strong. West African states recently imposed an arms embargo on
Guinea and the African Union has threatened further sanctions over last