Still No Justice For Guinea

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

By Erika Klein

After a mass government endorsed massacre on September 28 in Guinea, Africa, the West African Bloc has called for civilian rule, as the vice president assumed power over the country after a failed assassination attempt on President Moussa Dadis Camara last Thursday.

 

Sanctions & Investigations

On October 21, 2009 the United Nations was granted permission from local and regional stakeholders to begin an international probe into the deadly crackdown on unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators. A full independent international commission of inquiry is planned after Assistant Security General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios briefed the Security Council upon his return from the region. Menkerios held wide ranging talks with the National Council for Democracy and Development, African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission President Mohamed ibn Chambas; ECOWAS mediator President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso; and Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua. President Dadis Camra and his government have said they welcome an establishment of an inquiry and will fully co-operate to help facilitate such a process.

After the attack, sanctions were placed against Guinea by both the EU and France as well as the African Union. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said Saturday, "Africa has implemented sanctions against several dozen people in Guinea who are opposing a return to constitutional order," he said at a news conference on the sidelines of a summit on the Madagascar crisis. "The list has been sent to AU member states, to the UN Security Council and to the European Union (EU) so that we can harmonise our positions and take appropriate measures," he added.

It is widely believed that Guinea will shrug off most of its imposed sanctions due to the immense mineral wealth and because it is the largest importer of the aluminium ore bauxite. Guinea is also a major source of ore and gold. The President has so far resisted stepping down and is said to be making a full recovery after the assassination attempt.

 

Military Cover Up & The Survivors

Meanwhile, on the ground in Guinea, families of the murdered are still trying to obtain the bodies of their loved ones. Many victims and survivors initially witnessed some of the bodies stored in local hospitals and morgues. When they tried to retrieve their loved ones for proper burial, hospital and military officials told people the bodies simply weren't there. For more than two months the bodies whereabouts are still unknown suggesting a massive cover up. Victims have filed official complaints with the Red Cross, religious authorities and even the UN. All to no avail.

Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, better known as Toumba Diakite, the aide who allegedly shot Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, pictured above in October 2009. The attempted assassination of Guinea's junta leader this week was a "coup attempt" by Diakite, who "wanted to seize power," a junta spokesman said Sunday. (AFP /File/Seyllou)

 

Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, better known as Toumba Diakite, the aide who allegedly shot Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, pictured above in October 2009. The attempted assassination of Guinea's junta leader this week was a "coup attempt" by Diakite, who "wanted to seize power," a junta spokesman said Sunday. (AFP /File/Seyllou)

 

 

 

The crisis in Guinea continues to deepen and the assassination attempt by the President's aide was a thwarted coup, another attempt at achieving power. It is difficult to ascertain whether the incident was incited by pro democracy supporters or a power grab from within Guinea's military power struggle. The Presidential Aide is said to be in hiding and has 'considerable protection. It is heart wrenching to see Guinea in a state of trauma and oppression. It's clear that most citizens want a democratic government and not a military style dictatorship.

A UN Human Rights Inquiry would help establish the plight of Guinea, yet we have seen in countries like Darfur how international arrest warrants are virtually useless without the backing of UN and international military power. Our troops are already stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and though the industrialized countries of the world commiserate with Africa and Guinea, they lack the real motivation to enact the changes that are so desperately needed. The people of Guinea are defenceless and those who are seeking to engage in civil war have so far been unsuccessful. It seems there still is no justice for Guinea.

 

 
 

 

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Erika Klein is an author and freelance writer who spent many years serving the community through volunteer work, board of directorships and performing media work and public education.