The landmark trial of the September 28, 2009 massacre in Guinea resumed, just nine days after a daring commando operation successfully extracted four of the accused, including the former leader of the country, Moussa Dadis Camara. Despite three of the apprehended individuals, including Dadis Camara, being recaptured on the same day, November 4, one of them, Colonel Claude Pivi, remains at large.
Discussions during the Monday morning session between defense lawyers, the prosecution, and the court primarily focused on the attack on Kaloum’s central prison.
In Guinea, the trial for the September 28th stadium massacre resumed on November 13, 2023, marking the first hearing since the attack on Kaloum’s central prison on November 4.
Dressed in a dark suit with a visible gold wristwatch, Moussa Dadis Camara appeared relaxed. Before the proceedings, he stepped out of the defendant’s box to exchange a few words with his attorney.
Moussa Dadis Camara, Claude Pivi, Blaise Goumou, and Tiegboro Camara were clandestinely removed from their cells on November 4. The accused had formed a habit of sitting together on the same bench in the box; however, a seat now remains vacant – that of the fugitive, Claude Pivi.
The security arrangements around the court of appeal seem unchanged. Unlike the initial stages of the trial, the road in front of the building is no longer blocked. Entry checks are not more stringent than usual, and notably, the number of law enforcement officers on site has not increased.
As the court concluded the testimony of the victims, the morning session was dedicated to hearing witnesses, representing a crucial juncture in the trial.
Request for Adjournment
Tibou Kamara, former communication minister under Dadis, was called to the stand, but he remained silent. The defense attorneys requested to address the court, with Maître Cherif, Claude Pivi’s counsel, solemnly declaring, “One of the accused is absent from this room.” He explained, “My client will not be able to hear the witnesses to prepare his defense,” consequently requesting a trial postponement.
The argument was deemed inadmissible by the prosecution, citing Claude Pivi’s presence at the trial for over a year, allowing him to follow the proceedings until now.
Several defense and civil party lawyers highlighted the security risks associated with the trial. The coordinator of the victims’ lawyers, Maître Amadou DS Bah, emphasized the importance of continuing the trial despite Pivi’s absence, expressing hope that he would be apprehended and returned to custody before the conclusion of the witness testimonies.
While Claude Pivi remains at large, security measures around the Court of Appeal building do not appear to have been reinforced. Dadis’s lawyer, however, threatened to suspend his participation unless measures were taken to ensure the protection of the attorneys. The session was adjourned around 11:20 AM local time to allow the court to deliberate on the various requests from the lawyers.