News / Africa

Prosecutions of Guinea Officials on Rights Violations on Track

Nancy Palus
Human rights groups say Guinea has made significant progress in efforts to prosecute officials responsible for rights violations against citizens but much delicate and complicated work lies ahead. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it would take up the case if Guinean justice fails, but rights activists say the best outcome would be for the national process to succeed.

In recent months Guinean judges have charged several high-level officials over cases of grave human rights violations, including rapes and killings in the 2009 stadium massacre.

Judges have also made indictments and opened investigations in other cases, including a deadly military crackdown on demonstrators in 2007 and alleged torture of several men by soldiers in 2010.

The stadium attack - in which hundreds were killed, injured and raped by soldiers - threw Guinea into the spotlight, but it was just one of many cases of abuses by security forces in the country's 54 years of independence. Guineans say the charges and the opening of criminal investigations would have been unthinkable in past years.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) did a preliminary examination in the days following the 2009 stadium attack and has said it would prosecute perpetrators if Guinea fails to do so.

Florent Geel is with the International Federation for Human Rights, which is working with Guineans to bring perpetrators to justice. He says the best outcome for Guinea and the region would be to avoid the ICC stepping in.

Geel says after all the aim of the International Criminal Court is to not have to intervene, that national justice systems would function properly in order to prosecute those responsible for crimes. Geel says his organization's goal is not to see the ICC taking up cases everywhere - he says he wants the country to have the capacity to crack down on crimes such as the human rights violations in Guinea.

Geel said Guinea successfully bringing criminals to justice would have a positive impact for the entire region.

One woman, who did not want her name used, has scars all over her arms and legs where she says soldiers cut her when they raped her at the stadium in 2009. She does not have confidence in Guinea's judicial system on its own.

She says if it's up to the Guinean system alone, justice will not be done. Perhaps with the support of the International Federation for Human Rights and other international organizations, it can work, she says. We are really counting on these organizations to continue helping us in this fight for justice.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on September 28 that the United States calls on the Guinean government "to investigate and try those responsible for the 2009 massacre and engage in a dual process of national reconciliation and justice sector reform that will address and conclude Guinea's lengthy history of political violence and impunity."

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid