News / Africa

HRW Working to Bolster Human Rights in Guinea

A September 28, 2009 photo shows Guinean demonstrators fleeing as security forces disperse them from outside the stadium where tens of thousands gathered for a pro-democracy rally, in Conakry. Security forces loyal to the ruling military junta opened fire on the crowd that day, killing at least 157 and raping dozens of women.
A September 28, 2009 photo shows Guinean demonstrators fleeing as security forces disperse them from outside the stadium where tens of thousands gathered for a pro-democracy rally, in Conakry. Security forces loyal to the ruling military junta opened fire on the crowd that day, killing at least 157 and raping dozens of women.
Nancy Palus
Survivors of the 2009 stadium massacre in the West African country of Guinea have yet to see any of their alleged assailants brought to justice. Human Rights Watch said the international community could do more to ensure that Guinea lives up to the commitment it has made to prosecute those responsible for hundreds of rapes and killings that day.

A couple of weeks before she died in October this year, Aissatou Bailo Diallo - who was raped during Guinea’s 2009 stadium attack - said her appeal to the international community was simply: “Justice, and the truth.”

She was among the many people still suffering health problems from the rapes and beatings that took place when soldiers cracked down on demonstrators at a stadium in the capital, Conakry, on September 28.  Survivors are still waiting for justice.

Judicial process

Human Rights Watch is researching the status of the judicial process in Guinea and on Wednesday released its latest report in Conakry.

In the wake of the stadium attack, the International Criminal Court said it would step in if Guinea did not investigate and prosecute the stadium crimes. Guinea’s government then created a panel of judges and committed itself to doing so. But after three years, scores of victims have yet to be heard by the judges and no one has been convicted.

HRW says countries party to the ICC are increasingly looking at ways to ensure that justice be carried out at a national level. Guinea is a test.

Elise Keppler is senior counsel with Human Rights Watch’s international justice program.

"Guinea is in a way a test case for that possibility," said Keppler. "And, it’s an important moment where international partners can be looking to what can they do to help ensure fair, credible prosecutions at the domestic level for these crimes."

She cited the United States, France, the European Union, the United Nations and other international actors, who are working closely with Guinea as it makes a transition from years of autocratic rule to democracy and the rule of law.  Keppler said Guinea presents an opportunity to promote the International Criminal Court's principle that national courts should be the first line of defense against impunity.

Human Rights Watch says the U.N. human rights office, which now has a representative in Guinea, should take a more active role in pressing the government to ensure the national investigators can function effectively. The group also said other international actors "should substantially increase public and private diplomacy with Guinean officials to press for justice".

To date judges have heard testimony from 278 victims, according to Hamidou Barry, a Guinean lawyer who’s with the Guinea Human Rights Organization. Human Rights Watch said at least 100 people await their chance to testify.

Human Rights Watch said a number of obstacles remain, including a lack of independence in Guinea’s judicial sector, inadequate resources for judges and a lack of protection for victims and witnesses.

Although some Guineans say, given how long the process is taking, they want to see the ICC step in. Guinean lawyer Barry said it would be better for all concerned if justice worked at the national level.

He said victims want to see justice carried out in Guinea. He said bringing perpetrators to justice here in Guinea will deal a blow to impunity and would lend credibility to the national judicial system.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs