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ICC prosecutors investigating 2009 military violence in Guinea

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday sent a delegation [press release] from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) [official website] to Guinea to further investigate the killing of more than 150 pro-democracy protesters in Conakry in September 2009. The purpose of the visit is to consult with judicial authorities and gather additional information on the military violence [BBC backgrounder] waged against pro-democracy opposition groups that rallied against Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile]. An assassination attempt on Camara two months later eventually drove him into exile. The current trip is a follow up investigation to the initial mission [JURIST report] carried out by Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] in February. Guinea has been a party to the Rome Statute [text], which created the ICC, since 2003. The statute allows the ICC to adjudicate genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but the court only acts if the member state is unable or unwilling to try those accused of committing serious crimes.

At the conclusion of Bensouda's initial trip in February, she determined that the ICC would work with the Guinean legal system [AFP report] to prosecute the offenders. Meanwhile, Guinean Prime Minister Jean Marie Dore [NYT profile] said that his country's legal system would have great difficulty [BBC report] prosecuting the crimes due to the lack of an impartial judicial system. Earlier that month, a commission created by Guinea's junta announced that former Guinean junta aide Lieutenant Aboubacar Cherif "Toumba" Diakite is the sole government official to blame for the massacre [JURIST report]. The commission's conclusion contradicts a UN report [JURIST report] that blamed Camara, Minister for Special Services Moussa Tiegboro Camara, and Toumba for the September 28 slayings. In October, the ICC placed the Guinean military under preliminary investigation for human rights violations related to the Conakry incident, and the UN and Guinea both announced they were creating commissions to investigate [JURIST reports] the killings.

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