(Dakar) – Authorities in Guinea should take concrete and immediate steps to ensure justice for the victims and the families of those who were shot, raped, or beaten to death during the 2015 presidential election period, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today in a joint letter to President Alpha Condé.
Guinea’s authorities should ensure that members of the security forces and mobs linked to both the ruling party and opposition groups are held accountable for the killing of 12 people, several rapes, and the looting of several markets in Conakry, the capital, during the election period. To date, no one has been brought to justice in relation to these crimes.
“A year of inaction is far too long for families who have seen their loved ones taken from them. Victims of last year’s electoral violence deserve justice for the harm inflicted upon them, and the authorities should not make them wait any longer,” said Francois Patuel, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.
Presidential elections were held on October 11, 2015. The result was a first-round victory for Alpha Conde, the incumbent, who received 58 percent of the vote. The country will hold local elections in the coming months.
During the period around the 2015 elections, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented several incidents involving the security forces that resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people during demonstrations, most in Conakry. In addition, dozens of people were arbitrarily arrested and tortured.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have separately and jointly documented other violations and abuses committed during the election period, including the beating to death of two men and the rape of a woman by mobs linked to the opposition, the sexual abuse of a child by several ruling party supporters, and the extensive looting and destruction of property in markets by mobs associated with the ruling party, at times allegedly in complicity with the security forces.
Despite threats and financial hardship, many victims filed complaints to the judiciary about the killings, injuries, and property loss. However, the government has neither investigated any of these cases in depth, nor brought any suspects to justice, nor provided effective remedies to the victims, including full reparations.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch sent Guinea’s prosecutor general the details of several cases from the 2015 election period and urged the government to investigate the cases, including several complaints filed by family members and their lawyers.
Human rights violations and abuses committed during the run-up to the 2013 parliamentary elections remain similarly unaddressed, including some 60 deaths. The majority were allegedly caused by members of the security services.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch consider that the continuing failure of the authorities to properly investigate deaths following the use of excessive force is a violation of the right to life itself.
The organizations urge authorities in Guinea to ensure that all violations and crimes are promptly, thoroughly, transparently, and impartially investigated, that those responsible for abuses are brought to justice in fair trials, and that victims have access to effective remedies, including full reparations.
“Unless there is truth and justice, electoral violence in Guinea will continue,” said Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Investigating these crimes will signify a major step forward in ending the cycle of abuse and impunity that has long undermined respect for rights in Guinea.”