Guinea stadium killings: Justice remains elusive five years on – UN human rights chief

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissione

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 26, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Friday urged the Government of Guinea to take immediate and concrete steps to advance the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations, including killings, rapes and enforced disappearances, allegedly committed by security forces in 2009 against peaceful protestors at a football stadium in downtown Conakry.

On 28 September 2009, tens of thousands of opposition protestors were attacked with tear gas and live ammunition by Guinean security forces. At least 156 people died, 109 women were raped and more than 1,000 people were injured. The whereabouts of dozens of individuals remain unknown five years after the September 2009 events. In their aftermath, a UN-led international commission of inquiry recommended that the Government should take appropriate measures to respond to this situation. Subsequently, the Government set up an investigation led by a team of three magistrates, but the investigation has yet to be concluded and not a single prosecution has taken place so far.

“Five years after the Guinea stadium events, justice remains elusive for the victims,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “It is particularly disturbing that at least two high-ranking officials who were charged in relation to the September 2009 violations remain in influential positions within the defence and security forces.”

Zeid also noted that many officials have been reluctant to respond to court summons. He stressed that Guinean authorities must reaffirm their commitment to ensuring respect for the right to justice and reparations for victims of the violations.

“Immediate, concrete steps need to be taken to advance the quest for justice and the fight against impunity for the crimes and human rights violations that were perpetrated against unarmed civilians in Conakry in 2009,” he said.

“All suspects who are serving members of the administration must be suspended pending the completion of the judicial process. And a clear message needs to be sent from the highest levels that cooperation with the investigation is compulsory.”

Zeid called on the Government of Guinea to ensure that the investigation and any ensuing prosecutions are adequately resourced and enjoy the full backing and cooperation of the Government.

“The victims have already waited far too long,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “The best way for Guinea to put this terrible episode behind it is to confront it honestly, deal with it in accordance with the law, and in so doing reduce the possibility of such crimes being committed again by the country's authorities.”