Guinea has spent much of its independence under oppressive rule, leading to widespread concerns about human rights violations and the genuineness of democratic processes in the country before 2010. With the military suspension of the constitution in 2008, tensions culminated in September 2009 when security forces allegedly massacred, raped, and detained peaceful protesters gathered in the capital’s Conakry Stadium. In October 2009, the ICC prosecutor announced a preliminary examination into the events at Conakry Stadium. The prosecutor is monitoring the progress of national investigations and prosecutions, which the UN and civil society organizations have actively supported.
The ICC preliminary examination in Guinea was announced 14 October 2009, shortly after the Conakry Stadium massacre. According to human rights groups, as well as a UN International Commission of Inquiry, the killing and rape of civilians may amount to crimes against humanity. The ICC Office of the Prosecutor concluded the same in its preliminary examination reports on Guinea. With Guinea setting up a national commission of inquiry in January 2010 and appointing judges to lead the inquiry into the massacre, the ICC prosecutor is continuing to oversee national proceedings to determine whether they can bring genuine justice to victims.
Guinea is a signatory to the Rome Statute and deposited its instruments of ratification on 14 July 2003. Guinea signed the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the ICC on 1 April 2004 but has yet to accede to it. Guinea enacted implementing legislation on cooperation with the ICC in 2016.
National prosecutions stall after investigative success
The Conakry prosecutor appointed three Guinean investigative judges to conduct a national investigation into the 28 September 2009 events. Following investigations that involved site visits and interviews with key witnesses and politicians connected to the violence, the judges issued indictments against high-level political and military personnel like former head-of-state Moussa Dadis Camara. Civil society and the UN Judicial Expert on the Rule of law and Sexual Violence in conflict have contributed to successful investigations.
Investigations have also focused on various instances of alleged serious violations by security forces, including the 2007 killing of around 130 unarmed demonstrators; the 2010 torture of members of the political opposition; the 2012 killing of six men in Zogota; and killings during protests around delayed parliamentary elections in 2013.
On the prosecutions front, Guinea has lagged behind, reportedly due to the failure of some members of the security forces to respond to judicial summonses. In 2015, investigative judges took steps to move most of the investigations forward, but to no avail.
The Guinean National Coalition for the ICC is working towards bringing an end to impunity for victims of the 2009 crimes.
Local and international civil society groups have made a visible impact in Guinea. For example, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Organisation guinéenne de défense des droits de l’Homme, and other groups were successful in pushing for the indictment of the head of the president’s security service for his alleged role in the 28 September massacre.
Coalition members also assisted in the process that led to the 4 July 2016 adoption of Guinea’s new criminal and criminal procedure codes, which fully implement the Rome Statute while going a few steps further to introduce universal jurisdiction for international crimes and to criminalize the crime of aggression despite Guinea not having ratified the Kampala Amendments.