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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Guinea: In Guinea, Time for Defence Arguments in Bloodbath Trial

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Matthias Raynal is a correspondent in Guinea when, on 28 September 2022, a trial opens for mass crimes, the primary within the nation’s historical past. 13 years earlier, on the identical date, greater than 150 individuals had been massacred by the safety forces at an opposition rally in Conakry stadium. Primarily based within the Guinean capital since 2021, the place he works specifically with RFI and TV5 Monde, Matthias Raynal devotes a big a part of his work to this trial. Earlier than coming to Guinea, he was a correspondent in Tunisia and Morocco.

Within the Conakry stadium bloodbath trial, defendants’ attorneys have been taking the stand since Could 27, 2024. Nearly all of the accused have already had their closing arguments. On the centre of consideration in latest weeks has been former president Moussa Dadis Camara, alongside along with his many attorneys.

A model new boubou or a brand new, three-piece go well with – the defendants’ outfits are the primary factor that modifications as the times cross in related style within the final stage of the September 28 bloodbath trial. On trial for the previous 21 months, eleven defendants — a former head of state and senior members of the regime he headed after a coup – have been charged with the repression of an opposition rally in a Conakry stadium on 28 September, 2009. The massacre left greater than 150 individuals useless and greater than 100 ladies had been raped.

The defence case started on Could 27, 2024. Round 20 attorneys are representing the accused. Some 15 of them have already taken the stand. Salifou Béavogui, lawyer for warrant officer Mamadou Aliou Keita, was one of many first to be referred to as by the presiding choose. Dealing with the magistrates along with his again to the viewers, the lawyer denied the costs in opposition to his shopper. Based on him, his shopper didn’t rape Dame Aissatou Barry, one of many emblematic victims on this case. “There is a mistake in regards to the particular person. She will need to have seen Mamadou Aliou Keita from a distance. However in any case, it can not arise in court docket, in a legal court docket. One particular person’s phrase in opposition to one other, it will not arise, that is not doable. Mamadou Aliou Keita will likely be acquitted,” he claimed, foreshadowing the defence line of different attorneys who all plead their purchasers’ innocence.

This was adopted by a plea from the lawyer for Blaise Goumou, a former member of the particular providers thought of to have applied the killing. The gendarme is suspected of getting taken half within the stadium bloodbath, and the prosecution has requested a life sentence in opposition to him. Counsel Yaramo-Cé Saolomou’s argument developed a number of themes that his colleagues later continued to discover. He denounced as unlawful the reclassification of the information as crimes in opposition to humanity. The prosecution has requested this, and the court docket has determined to rule on it solely on the time of the decision. Among the attorneys take into account the reclassification to be “opportunistic” and, of their view, indicative of the shortage of proof within the case. “The prosecution ought to have the braveness, the mental and even skilled honesty to acknowledge its failure. The regulation gives the proper to request a defence while you discover that there is no such thing as a proof of any variety to ascertain the guilt of the accused,” declared Saolomou in a peremptory tone.

Victims accused

Confronted with a case that they take into account insufficiently stable, many attorneys argue that convicting their shopper can be the results of a “witch-hunt”. Some discuss with the trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé-Goudé, the previous Ivorian president and youth minister who had been tried and acquitted earlier than the Worldwide Prison Court docket (ICC). “Simply because the judges of the Worldwide Prison Court docket had been guided solely by the regulation in restoring the historic fact by means of the acquittal of those two defendants, you are able to do the identical, Mr President,” Saolomou instructed the presiding choose. He additional backed his argument by mentioning the taboo on this unprecedented trial of an ethnic dimension to the case. “There are some who assume that this trial is directed in opposition to a group,” he stated, suggesting {that a} conviction would verify this opinion. “The court docket’s determination should not be influenced by any communitarian, ethnic, regionalist or spiritual function.”

In the identical vein Pépé Antoine Lamah, lawyer for Moussa Dadis Camara who was head of State on the time of the bloodbath, denounced the trial as political. “Since we have now to evaluate for the sake of judging, and probably hand out sentences consistent with a political plan that some see as a part of nationwide reconciliation, that is why we’re placing up with all this. In any other case, if we wish to have a severe trial, we must always look for many who are actually accountable,” he stated. He accused sure victims of getting lied, of getting enriched themselves, giving the instance of Avipa, the affiliation of victims, family members and associates of September 28. “Ask this NGO to attract up a steadiness sheet of its actions from 2010 to the current day, and you will see billions! Whereas the actual victims are struggling, others are pocketing billions, constructing homes and sending their kids to prime colleges overseas,” he claimed. However these assaults on the civil events had been taken to the acute by one other of Dadis’s attorneys, Jean-Baptiste Jocamey Haba.

The conspiracy idea

He broke all data, monopolising the ground for greater than three days. On the stand, he went over the case in minute element, creating the conspiracy idea as by no means earlier than. Based on him, the bloodbath was organised by Dadis’s enemies to topple him. They noticed him as an impediment to “the predators of the Guinean financial system”, as a result of he had attacked drug traffickers, corruption and Western pursuits. On June 18, throughout his second look on the stand, the lawyer went even additional. He denounced the function performed, he stated, by France, and named the personalities who would have had an curiosity in eliminating Dadis: Bernard Kouchner, then French Minister of International Affairs, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Guinean opposition determine Alpha Condé.