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Guinea foreign minister to ICC: junta will prosecute rights abuses

[JURIST] Guinean Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandre Cece Loua [GuineeNews profile] said during a visit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Wednesday that the Guinean judiciary is capable of and intends to investigate [press release] and prosecute any crimes committed during the September 28 incidents at Conakry [BBC backgrounder]. Loua met with Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] and Head of the Office of the Prosecutor's Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation Division Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen, who gave Loua a written request for information on the crimes and efforts to investigate and prosecute those crimes. As a party to the Rome Statute [text], Guinea continues to have the "primary responsibility to conduct proceedings", but the ICC would intervene "if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely."

The Guinea junta on Saturday appointed [AP report] a mixture of 31 doctors, lawyers, and judges to a National Commission for an Independent Investigation that will work with the committee established [JURIST report] last week by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] to look into possible human rights abuses by Guinean soldiers on September 28. Official Guinean reports recognize 56 deaths, in contrast to UN and human rights group estimates that more than 150 civilians were killed and more than 1,200 were wounded. The ICC last week placed the Guinean military under preliminary investigation [JURIST report] for human rights violations the September 28 incident. Military junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile] led a coup in December 2008 after the death of president Lansana Conte [BBC obituary]. Despite an initial reaction welcoming [Washington Times report] Camara as a change from Conte's 24-year regime, there is now widespread opposition against the junta. Conditions inside the African country have since declined [HRW report] with a rise in violence and increasing crackdown on opposition.

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