Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Analysts question fairness of tests planned for former Guinean president, aides

Analysts say Guinea’s transitional military government’s plan to prosecute former President Alpha Condé and 26 of his top officials will likely be fueled by doubts over the fairness of their trials.

The 2019 Afrobarometer survey showed that over 90% of Guineans consider the judiciary to be corrupt.

Jesper Bergensen, a senior researcher at the Denmark-based Nordic Africa Institute, told VOA that the trial is arguably a turning point.

“There are legitimate allegations against the former president… [but] I think working towards free and fair elections is the primary task of a transitional government,” he said.

As for judicial credibility, Bjarneson said, “I am not convinced that a provisional transitional government is the best facilitator of the legal process against former presidents and their former officials”.

“There may be room for a restructuring of the judiciary with military takeovers, but this is still a very slim expectation in a system where there is a systematic abuse of power,” Bergensen said. “What’s more likely you’ll have people new to power using a dysfunctional system.”

Although Condé’s government-enforced detention ended on April 22, he has not left the West African nation in light of recent allegations.

File - Guinean President Alpha Condé Addresses His Supporters During A Campaign Rally In Kisidougou On October 12, 2020.

FILE – Guinean President Alpha Condé addresses his supporters during a campaign rally in Kisidougou on October 12, 2020.

Documents filed by Guinea’s Attorney General Charles Alphonse Wright last week accused the former president and his supporters of engaging in murder, kidnapping, disappearances, torture and illegal detention while in office. Other charges include assault, destruction of property, rape, sexual abuse and robbery.

According to documents, in 2020 Guinea’s election violence killed at least 12 people in the capital and 50 in other parts of the country.

After backing a constitutional referendum that changed the term limit, Condé’s bid to extend his rule to a third term sparked violent demonstrations. He eventually won another five-year term in October 2020, having been ousted only in September last year.

Alix Boucher at the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies told the VOA that she doubts the military junta’s interest in “upholding justice”, noting that the constitution’s suspension of the junta since the September 2021 coup has been will make the tests “excessive”. irony.”

The people of Guinea are “still waiting for those responsible for the massacre and gang rape committed by the previous junta at the stadium in Conakry in September 2009 to be prosecuted.” “The lack of confidence that such trials will be free and fair reflects the weak legacy of Guinea’s independent monitoring institutions, even under Conde.”

In September 2009, soldiers led by then-junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara opened fire on opposition supporters rallying at a stadium in the country’s capital, Conakry, killing at least 157 people. More than 100 women were raped by soldiers. Conde’s administration – which came into office in 2010 – has long promised to try criminals, but has never followed through.

Boucher said the current junta’s timeline for prosecuting Condé and 26 others shows it is set to hang on to power. The military recently said it needed 39 months to transition back to civilian rule, rejecting demands by the Economic Community of West African states to do so as quickly as possible.

“Such Announcements” [by the military regime] It lacks credibility and obscures the essential takeaway that Junta has no plans to give up power on its own,” Boucher said.

Neither a spokesman for the junta nor officials from Guinea’s embassy in Washington immediately responded to VOA’s request for comments.

Guinea has a long legacy of military and authoritarian governments. But 77% of Guineans prefer democracy to any other regime and want a two-term limit for the presidency, according to one afrobarometer survey Published in September.

“Therefore, the purpose of the junta to seize power is a direct attempt to undermine Guinea’s deepest aspirations for a democratic government,” Boucher said.

Some of the information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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