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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid