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UN Report Blames Guinea Military for Killing Civilians

A UN investigation into September's killing of opposition protesters in Guinea says military leaders were directly involved in the violence. Guinea's military blames the killing on political opponents and 'uncontrollable elements' of the army.

UN Report Blames Guinea Military for Killing Civilians
UN Report Blames Guinea Military for Killing Civilians

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The U.N. investigation says the September 28 killing of opposition demonstrators in Guinea's capital amounts to a crime against humanity that is directly attributable to the military government, including its leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon received the report last week and has passed it on to the Security Council, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States, as well as Guinea's government.

In sections of the report leaked to international media, including the French news agency and the newspaper Le Monde, the U.N. inquiry says there are "sufficient grounds for presuming direct criminal responsibility" by Captain Camara and the former head of Guinea's presidential guard Lieutenant Aboubacar Diakite.

It asks the International Criminal Court to take action against Captain Camara and other members of the ruling military council for what it calls "systematic" and "organized" killing.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters in Paris that he agrees with the UN conclusion that the violence was a crime against humanity and endorses action by the International Criminal Court.

Captain Camara was shot in the head by Diakite three weeks ago and is recovering in a Moroccan military hospital.  In an interview with French Radio, Lieutenant Aboubacar Diakite says he shot Captain Camara because the captain was trying to blame him for the September 28th violence.

Diakite says he will not turn himself in because he believes he will be killed to cover-up what he calls September's "premeditated violence."

Local human-rights groups say at least 157 people were killed and as many as 100 women raped when soldiers broke up a protest against Captain Camara's expected presidency candidacy.  The military government says 57 people died, most in the crush of people fleeing the stadium.

The violence raised concerns that Guinea's political crisis could degenerate into a broader fight, potentially destabilizing a region where Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Ivory Coast are all working to recover from their own violence.

Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore is leading regional efforts to reach a power-sharing agreement between the military government and its political opponents.  But Guinea's military is rejecting a foreign military and civilian observer mission.

Guinean human-rights attorney Thierno Balde believes those talks have little chance for success, especially as no one knows when or if Captain Camara will return to Guinea.

"Looking at what is going on right now, I am very pessimistic about how the situation might evolve.  I do not see right now a way out of the situation.  And it makes me really worried, knowing that if we have further violence it can lead to civil war and maybe go beyond the border of Guinea," he said.

The U.N. Secretary General is calling for Guinea's government to deal with violence "in a systematic manner devoid of killings."  In a statement on his handing over the report, he reminded the military government of its obligation to protect victims and witnesses and said it should "break definitively with the violence that characterized the tragic events of 28 September."

Since Captain Camara's shooting, Guinea is being run by Defense Minister Sekouba Konate who has toured military barracks calling for discipline and respect for civilians.

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