On the sixth anniversary of the events at the Conakry national stadium on 28 September 2009, which left at least 156 persons killed or disappeared and at least 109 victims of sexual violence, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, commends the national authorities for exercising ownership, leadership and responsibility over this process which seeks to bring justice to victims of these horrific events.
In the framework of a Joint Communiqué signed between the United Nations and the Government of Guinea in November 2011, Special Representative Bangura’s Office, through the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law/Sexual Violence in Conflict, has been providing technical support to the Panel of Judges established by the Guinean authorities to investigate and prosecute these crimes. With the Team’s support, the Panel has already issued 16 indictments, including against former President of the Republic of Guinea, Moussa Dadis Camara, and high ranking military officers. This was based on more than 400 hearings, which included 200 victims and witnesses of sexual violence.
“This is test case for Guinea. If successful, this will demonstrate the ability of national jurisdictions to prosecute serious and complex international crimes,” Special Representative Bangura noted.
During a four-day visit to Guinea that ended on 21 September 2015, the Special Representative received confirmation from the national authorities of their full engagement and ownership of this process, and their commitment to also provide support for the urgent needs of the victims.
“From my meetings with the President of the Republic and other senior level officials, I came to the conclusion that we are closer to seeing justice and reparations for victims, as well as medical and psychological support for those who continue to face very serious health challenges,” the Special Representative said.
She also met with the Panel of Judges in charge of the investigations and prosecution of the crimes which occurred at the stadium, as well as with victims and their representatives.
“The courage and determination of the Judges, as well as that of the victims in bringing forward their case, is commendable. None of the progress we have seen would have been possible without their relentless efforts in pursuit of justice.”
Special Representative Bangura added: “Today represents an anniversary unlike any of the others, because it takes place after the indictments of those alleged to be most responsible, and we have also seen from the highest political and judicial authorities in Guinea a clear adherence to the commitments outlined in the Joint Communiqué. I urge the Government of Guinea to ensure the completion of the investigations as soon as possible, and the start of these important trials.”
The United Nations will continue to support ongoing efforts by the Guinean authorities towards a successful conclusion of the process, including in the areas of protection of victims and witnesses, and reparations.