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ICC investigating alleged Guinea military violence

Chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Luis Moreno Ocampo [official profile] confirmed [press release] Wednesday that the Guinean military is under preliminary investigation for the September 28 incident [NYT report] at a Conakry pro-democracy rally in which soldiers allegedly opened fire, killing more than 150 civilians and wounding more than 1,200. Ocampo's preliminary investigation will determine "whether crimes falling under the Court's jurisdiction have been perpetrated." The ICC announcement comes the same day as EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Progess Karel de Gucht called [Reuters report] for military junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile] to be tried for crimes against humanity for the Conakry incidents. Last week, the Obama administration also condemned [AllAfrica report] the incident, calling for the UN and the international community to take actions to address the crisis in Guinea. An estimated 50,000 people were gathered in Conakry to protest Camara for his intention to run in the January 2010 elections when soldiers and uniformed individuals allegedly opened fire on the crowds and carried out other forms of violence, including the rape [AFP report] of more than 150 women.

Camara led a coup in December 2008 after the death of president Lansana Conte [BBC obituary]. The coup received mixed reactions among Guineans, some of whom welcomed [Washington Times report] a change from Conte's 24-year regime. Camara promised to remain in power only long enough to assist the country's transition to a new election in which he would not run himself. The international community decried the coup, and conditions inside the African country have since declined [HRW report] with a rise in violence and increasing crackdown on opposition.

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