Guest Post by Harry Warner
Guinea’s military junta, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara is facing investigation from the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In a statement released by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court confirmed that it would be looking into violence by the Guinean military at protests last month. Reports suggested that over 150 people were killed following the anti-government demonstration at a sports stadium, when troops opened fire on demonstrators. This figure was fiercely denied by Guinea’s military rulers, who suggested that it was closer to 50 casualties and blamed a stampede for the majority of the fatalities. However, ICC Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has labelled the violence as “appalling and unacceptable”, and announced that an investigation has started to determine whether war crimes have been committed.
The announcement comes following calls from senior EU diplomats for the government crackdown to be investigated with a view to indictment at the ICC. EU development chief Karel de Gucht called the crackdown on protesters “an act of brutality never seen before”, and human rights groups have cast doubts on the timing of a recently signed mining deal with China. The lucrative deal which promises to open up Guinea’s rich mineral wealth has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for “sending the wrong message at the wrong time”, and will certainly stir controversy as pressure mounts on Camara’s regime.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute in 2003, Guinea falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC and Guinean individuals are therefore indictable at the court in relation to international criminal offences including genocide and crimes against humanity. The preliminary investigation also adds to the several which are currently ongoing through the Office of the Prosecutor into reported war crimes in Afghanistan, Georgia and Colombia amongst others.
For the statement itself see:
For further commentary see:
Harry Warner is a postgraduate law student at City University London, and has recently completed a study into the relationship between state sovereignty and modern international law.