UN SG Ban establishes committee to investigate alleged Guinea rights abuses

UN SG Ban establishes committee to investigate alleged Guinea rights abuses

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] established [statement] an investigation committee on Friday to look into possible human rights abuses by Guinean soldiers on September 28. The Guinea junta on Saturday also appointed [AP report] a mixture of doctors, lawyers, and judges to a National Commission for an Independent Investigation, with similar goals. A spokesperson for Ban said:

The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned by the tense situation in Guinea following the violent crackdown, which he had strongly condemned, on unarmed civilians on 28 September in Conakry. This crackdown resulted in many deaths and injuries and allegedly in gross violations of human rights, including rape. The Secretary-General has therefore decided to establish an international commission of inquiry to investigate those incidents with a view to determining the accountability of those involved. A mission will be sent immediately to look into the modalities for the setting up of this commission.

The incident stemmed from a pro-democracy demonstration against military junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara [BBC profile], who intended to push elections forward three months and stand for re-election. Soldiers allegedly opened fire on demonstrators, and 57 are reported dead [AFP report], with more than 1,000 more injured or raped.

The International Criminal Court last week placed the Guinean military under preliminary investigation [JURIST report] for human rights violations for the September 28 incident. 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.