Viewing cable 07CONAKRY188
Title: TFGV01: JUSTICE MINISTER SAYS INVESTIGATIONS INTO

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07CONAKRY1882007-02-17 11:28:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Conakry
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000188 
 
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SIPDIS 
 
FOR GUINEA TASK FORCE, AF/W, AF/EX, CA/OCS, DS/IP/AF 
PLEASE ALSO PASS TO AID/AFR, PEACE CORPS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM ELAB PINS GV
SUBJECT:  TFGV01: JUSTICE MINISTER SAYS INVESTIGATIONS INTO 
KILLINGS UNDERWAY 
 
REF: CONAKRY 179 
 
Classified By: POLOFF JESSICA DAVIS BA, REASON 1.4 (b,d) 
 
¶1.  (SBU) Summary.  On February 15, Minister of Justice 
Alseny Rene Gomez briefed G-8 ambassadors on the status of 
investigations into killings during the June 2006 and January 
2007 general strikes.  Minister Gomez and his associates 
described a meticulous and tediously paced process that 
includes a commission with participation by magistrates from 
around the country, representatives from various ministries, 
and union representatives.  This commission does not 
currently have authority to investigate actions during the 
present state of siege.  At present, the Ministry of Justice 
can confirm only two security personnel in custody for 
alleged killings, while there are unconfirmed reports of over 
100 civilians under arrest for property damage.  Gomez 
assured the ambassadors that Guinea is committed to executing 
an open and transparent process, welcoming international 
technical and financial assistance to ensure justice.  End 
Summary. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and 
International Cooperation Mamady Conde organized a briefing 
February 15 for G-8 ambassadors by Minister of Justice Gomez, 
who reviewed the status of investigations into killing and 
abuses during the June and January general strikes.  The 
invitation followed the ambassadors' demands during an 
earlier meeting with Prime Minister Eugene Camara for 
credible investigations into civilian deaths during the June 
2006 and January 2007 general strikes and the current state 
of siege.  The U.S., British, German, and Spanish 
ambassadors, as well as the EC head of delegation and the 
acting U.N. representative were present. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) Assuring the group that he understood international 
concerns, Gomez insisted that Guinea will no longer accept 
human rights violations, noting that "we have the will to 
search for the truth."  Although he is not required to do so, 
Gomez has invited Guineans outside the justice system to take 
part in the inquiry.  This inclusiveness will ensure it is an 
open and transparent process, he said.  Gomez said that he 
has appointed experienced professionals within the Ministry 
of Justice to take charge of the process.  To avoid potential 
obstacles, Gomez appointed a supervisory commission to manage 
the inquiry, led by Mohammed Haidara, Inspector General of 
the Judicial Service at the Minister of Justice. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) Haidara and Yves William Aboly, Prosecutor General 
for the Appeals Court of Conakry, made detailed presentations 
about the ministry's painstaking measures the ministry on the 
investigation.  The commission, which includes 
representatives from the courts of first instance, judges, 
and prosecutors from all regions, is organized according to 
Guinea's standard procedures for investigations, with some 
innovations.  Aboly asserted they have "taken all 
dispositions necessary for the process," evidenced by the 
arrests of several persons who remain in custody pending 
trial.  Haidara assured the ambassadors that judgments would 
take place only after the investigations are concluded, but 
that judgments will definitely be made. 
¶5.  (SBU) The ministry has not waited for victim complaints 
to open an investigation.  It formally initiating the 
investigation on June 13, 2006 immediately following the June 
12 killings.  Gomez drew lessons learned from the June 
investigation and departed from the past by inviting outside 
ministries and organizations to participate in the current 
process, he said.  The commission includes representatives 
from the Ministries of Security, Defense, and Territorial 
Administration and Decentralization.  Gomez confirmed that he 
invited the union coalition, the Guinean Human Rights 
Organization (OGDH), and the Guinean Bar Association to take 
part.  Gomez said that the unions designated two individuals 
and they have taken part in two meetings of the Commission. 
Gomez said that he has not yet received a reply from OGDH and 
that the Bar Association declined.  Gomez emphasized that he 
could not force their participation. 
 
¶6.  (SBU) Gomez clarified that, in addition to the June 
events, the Commission is targeting January 10-27. 
Ambassador McDonald asked about the Minister of Justice's 
authority to investigate actions during the state of siege in 
place since February 12.  Gomez first responded that since 
their last meeting on February 9, the investigators have not 
been able to do their work due to restrictions on movement. 
When the Ambassador asked more pointedly, Gomez responded, 
 
CONAKRY 00000188  002 OF 002 
 
 
"We will not accept impunity", but said that since we are 
outside of the normal operating context, he would have to go 
back and look to see about extending the commission's mandate. 
 
¶7.  (SBU) The Ambassador emphasized that credibility can only 
be assured if persons who are responsible for killings, 
rapes, beatings, and other human rights violations are held 
responsible.  Gomez claimed that military officers have been 
arrested but their cases remain with the gendarmes.  He 
expected the cases to be transferred to Conakry for judgment 
in the next civilian court session.  Gomez said the ministry 
plans to go after all criminals, including those who are 
responsible for the destruction of public property as well as 
the private property of government officials.  Gomez said 
that if he were to re-deploy the commission to cover the 
state of siege period as well, he would have to include new 
prefectures and additional investigators -- all of which 
"will take more time and be more difficult." 
 
¶8.  (SBU) The German ambassador encouraged the ministers to 
publish a status report on the investigations to inform the 
public that they are in fact doing something.  The ministers 
agreed to release information, admitting that the population 
has no knowledge of their efforts and their commitment to 
bring perpetrators to justice.  The German ambassador 
implored the ministers to accept international offers of 
assistance, questioning whether the government currently has 
the human and financial resources to sustain an investigation 
of this magnitude.  Minister Conde responded that Guinea has 
already accepted assistance from the High Commissioner for 
Human Rights who is sending a specialist from Geneva and a 
special regional representative to conduct an international 
evaluation of the process.  "We are not closed to material 
and financial assistance," he concluded. 
 
¶9.  (C) Gomez said that 443 persons were arrested during the 
January general strike, but almost all of these detainees 
were released in connection with the January 27 tripartite 
agreement.  The five who remain in prison are charged with 
burning vehicles.  Gomez said the investigation into their 
cases is ongoing and that he has an obligation to judge them 
based on evidence of their criminal actions.  In a subsequent 
conversation with Poloff, Haidara confirmed that there have 
been other arrests in connection with January, but he had no 
idea how many persons are being held.  He was not aware of 
any security personnel arrested in connection with killings 
but that it is the work of the commission to learn the 
situation in all regions.  (Note: We have unconfirmed reports 
of at least 100 persons arrested in various cities in 
connection with property damaged in January.  There are also 
reports that the government has initiated targeted operations 
to round up additional persons in Conakry and upcountry.) 
 
 
¶10.  (SBU) The ministers asked the ambassadors to help them 
address the concerns of the international community over 
perceptions of impunity, arguing that this investigation 
demonstrated concrete corrective measures to correct this 
assumption. 
 
¶11.  (C) COMMENT.  The process may be meticulous but it is 
also slow and not transparent to the public.  As usual, the 
information was shared only in response to ambassadorial 
demands, and only with a limited few.  While Gomez invited 
the participation of outside actors, it is clear that he does 
not intend to have a "political" investigation akin to a 
truth and reconciliation process requested by many.  At 
present, there is no clear mandate to ensure that actions 
since February 12 and the declaration of martial law, 
particularly by military, will be punished.  It is also 
important to note that there are more civilians arrested for 
property destruction during the strike than military or other 
security personnel for killings and other human rights 
abuses.  The process as described is not totally flawed, but 
it does not constitute a credible investigation into the 
violence perpetrated by state actors during the strikes or 
state of siege. 
 
MCDONALD