The Hague, December 10, 2012 (FH) – Human Rights Watch has called on Guinea to step up efforts to ensure justice for victims of the 2009 stadium massacre, rapes and other abuses.

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“Lack of greater government support for the investigation raises questions as to the government’s political will,”says the December 5 report. The crimes occurred on September 28, 2009, when Guinean armed forces burst into a stadium in the capital Conakry and opened fire on crowds of opposition supporters peacefully gathered there. At least 150 people were killed and dozens of women raped. A UN investigation found that crimes against humanity had been committed. In February 2010, a Guinean prosecutor appointed a panel of judges to investigate. Human Rights Watch says that more than 200 victims have been interviewed and charges filed against at least seven people, including a minister. However, it says, the investigation has yet to be completed more than three years after the crimes were committed.“The judges also have yet to interview at least two key suspects – the president at the time the crimes were committed, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, and Captain Claude “Coplan” Pivi,” Human Rights Watch adds. Factors holding up the investigation include, according to HRW, slowness to address the investigative panel’s lack of basic supplies, “limited security, competing professional responsibilities and the fact that key suspects have not been placed on leave from government posts”. In addition, says HRW, “Guinean judicial police have yet to provide judges access to an identified possible mass grave, and a request to interview the former president in Burkina Faso about the crimes remains outstanding”.Shortly after the massacre, the International Criminal Court placed the situation in Guinea under preliminary examination. Human Rights Watch says the ICC has made a vital contribution to pressing for justice for the September 28, 2009 crimes. However, it says, more needs to be done to “maximize what the ICC calls complementarity, whereby the court only intervenes when national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute.”SM/ER/JC