10 February 2012 A senior United Nations official welcomed today the news that a Guinean court has filed charges against an army colonel accused of being responsible for mass rapes that occurred during a pro-democracy protest in the country's capital in 2009.
“Justice in Guinea has been delayed, but this signals that it cannot be denied,” said Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
On 28 September 2009, civilians organized an opposition rally in a soccer stadium in Conakry when Guinean security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least 150 and resulting in the rape and sexual abuse of 109 women.
Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara was charged by a national court for the atrocities – including mass rape – committed that day. He is the highest-ranking official yet to be charged for his role in the massacre.
“The recent charges are a welcome step in the right direction. They signal that no official is above the law, and no citizen is below it,” Ms. Wallström said.
The Special Representative, who met with rape survivors during her visit to the country in November, said in a statement that she was pleased by the new Government's commitment to fight impunity and prevent and deter sexual violence.
However, she also stressed that the process to bring those responsible to justice has been “painfully slow,” adding that “the legacy of the massacre and mass rape is far from over.
“There remains an urgent need to assist the survivors and bring the remaining perpetrators to justice. It is equally crucial that all victims, other witnesses and their families are afforded full protection and that no effort is spared to ensure their safety throughout this process.”
Ms. Wallström also reiterated the UN's readiness to support the Government's efforts to address impunity for sexual violence and to ensure that such atrocities are never repeated.
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