Guinea’s September 28 Massacres.. Trial Considers Reclassification as Crimes Against Humanity

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The tribunal overseeing the trial of the September 28, 2009 massacres is set to deliberate on the reclassification of the events as crimes against humanity, as requested by the prosecution, starting from March 18, 2024. This Monday morning, March 18th, saw the defense presenting its arguments.

After a two-week hiatus, the trial concerning the September 28, 2009, massacres resumed on March 18, 2024. The tribunal is tasked with ruling on the prosecution’s request to reclassify the events as crimes against humanity.

It was the defense lawyers of the accused who had sought a two-week adjournment of the hearing. This was to allow them to prepare their responses to the prosecution’s submissions, a 32-page document distributed to the various parties on March 4th.

This Monday morning, at the start of the hearing, the defense submitted its rebuttals to the tribunal and immediately requested to speak. Maître Almamy Samory Traoré was the first to address the court. He outlined the trial’s history and the charges brought forth.

The defense counsel asserted that the command responsibility implied by crimes against humanity had been dismissed, stating that all legal avenues had been exhausted. “The Supreme Court has issued a ruling,” reminded the lawyer.

Wearing a pair of black sunglasses, Pépé Antoine Lamah took the floor next. Assertive in his stance, he began: “My talented colleague has, through pertinent and impactful arguments, dismantled the presumptuous submissions of the prosecution.” Slightly provocative, he added: “These submissions, made a year and six months after the commencement of proceedings, are proof that the prosecution is convinced of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara’s innocence regarding his criminal responsibility.”

The defense continued to present its observations on Monday. The tribunal may render its decision today or at a later date to allow for further deliberation.

Former country leader Moussa Dadis Camara and ten other former military and government officials have been facing trial since September 2022 for their alleged involvement in the September 28, 2009 massacre.

On that day, at least 156 people were killed, hundreds were injured, and at least 109 women were raped, according to a report from an international inquiry commission mandated by the UN.

Soukaina Sghir

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