PopMuse: Guinea News http://popmu.se Musings of stuff en-us Copyright 2007-2019 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Funeral Killings Ahead of New Round of Guinea Demonstrations https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/06/funeral-killings-ahead-new-round-guinea-demonstrations https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/06/funeral-killings-ahead-new-round-guinea-demonstrations Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC Human Rights Watch at Guinea Expand People protest on the streets of Conakry, Guinea, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.� � 2019 AP Photo/Youssouf Bah The government of Guinea should ensure a speedy and independent investigation after three people were allegedly shot dead this week in clashes with security forces. The alleged killings occurred during a funeral procession on November 4 to mourn those killed during an earlier round of anti-government protests. A coalition of civil society groups and opposition parties said that three people were killed while a police spokesman acknowledged at least two dead. The coalition is planning another major protest on November 7. Over the past month, the Guinean government has intensified a crackdown on opposition to a new constitution that could allow President Alpha Cond� to run for a third term in the 2020 presidential elections. Authorities have arrested and imprisoned six civil society leaders spearheading anti-constitution protests. After violently dispersing several anti-constitution protests earlier in the year, the government finally authorized an opposition protest on October 24. The protest – the first public demonstration authorized by the government since July 2018 – was largely peaceful. Pro-government supporters organized their own demonstration on October 31. The events of November 4 highlight the risk of more clashes between the security forces and protesters. Journalists and witnesses described participants in the funeral procession throwing stones and other projectiles, and security forces firing tear gas and, at times, live bullets. A journalist said he heard a gendarme saying, “we are going to kill you all,” as security forces chased protesters into neighborhoods. The funeral procession itself commemorated 11 protesters allegedly shot dead by security forces, during three days of protest against a new constitution that began on October 14. A gendarme was also killed by protesters on October 14. Human Rights Watch has documented at length the�police and gendarmes’ use of firearms and excessive use of lethal force�when policing protests, as well as the beating of protesters, corruption, and other forms of criminality. Members of the security forces are virtually never investigated or prosecuted for their alleged role in protest deaths. Human Rights Watch urges the government to release the six civil society leaders, ensure the security forces’ response to protests abides by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, and establish a special judicial unit to investigate deaths during protests. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: End Crackdown on Opponents to New Constitution https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/18/guinea-end-crackdown-opponents-new-constitution https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/18/guinea-end-crackdown-opponents-new-constitution Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea Expand Police arrest a protester in Conakry, Guinea, on October 14, 2019. At least 9 people have been killed and dozens arrested during protests that� began on October 14 against a proposed new constitution and a possible third term for President Alpha Cond�.� � 2019 YOUSSOUF BAH/AP. (Nairobi) –�Guinea’s government should end its crackdown on the right to protest by releasing civil society leaders and demonstrators opposed to a new constitution, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also investigate the killings of protesters and one gendarme during three days of demonstrations which began October 14, 2019 in the capital, Conakry, and in towns in Guinea’s interior. Guinea’s government has effectively banned street protests for over a year, citing threats to public security. But its crackdown on the right to protest has escalated in the last week as security forces arrested activists leading the opposition to a new constitution and used excessive force to break up nationwide protests, with the government acknowledging nine deaths, including a gendarme. “Guinea’s government simply should not be denying people their right to express opposition to a new constitution,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “A blanket protest ban, the arbitrary arrest of civil society leaders, and the violent dispersal of demonstrators shows that the government is prepared to trample on human rights to suppress dissent.” Guinea is in political limbo as it awaits an announcement from President Alpha Cond� about whether he will attempt to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term in the 2020 presidential elections. President Cond� has not said whether he intends to run again, but on October 9 his government completed consultations on the need for a new constitution. The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Le Front national de la d�fense de la Constitution, FNDC) – a coalition of nongovernmental groups and opposition parties that boycotted the consultation process – announced on October 7 nationwide demonstrations to begin on October 14. General Bourema Cond�, the minister for territorial administration and decentralization, said on October 9 that the FNDC’s declaration “constitutes an open threat to the peace and security of our nation.” On October 12, security forces arrested seven members of the FNDC leadership, including its coordinator, Abdourahmane Sanoh, during a meeting at Sanoh’s home. The detained FNDC members also included Sekou Koundouno, the FNDC’s head of planning, Ibrahima Diallo, operations chief, and Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, head of digital communications. Sanoh’s brother, Mamadou, was also later arrested. A lawyer for those arrested told Human Rights Watch they were able to meet the detained men briefly on October 12 at police headquarters, but did not have access to them after they were moved to the barracks of the elite security force unit the Mobile Intervention and Security Force (Compagnie mobile d’intervention et de s�curit�, CMIS) and the headquarters of Guinea’s intelligence services. The men were brought before a court on October 14 and imprisoned in Guinea’s central prison. On October 16, they were taken to a court to face trial for public order offenses. The trial was adjourned to October 18. Despite the arrest of the FNDC leadership, widespread protests against a new constitution began on October 14 in Conakry and other towns. Journalists and witnesses reported an extensive deployment of police and gendarmes to break up protests, including by using water cannons and tear gas. There were frequent clashes between protesters and the security forces in Conakry and in Guinea’s interior, with witnesses alleging that the security forces at times fired live ammunition toward protesters. Witnesses said protesters frequently threw stones and other projectiles at security force members. Social media footage from October 15 showed police officers using batons to beat two protesters and, in one case, parading him naked while pretending to slit his throat. Human Rights Watch has documented at length the police and gendarmes use of firearms and excessive use of lethal force when policing past protests, as well as the beating of protesters, corruption, and other forms of criminality. Guinea’s government justified the ban on this week’s protests on the grounds that the FNDC leadership did not notify the government of the demonstrations. President Cond� on October 14 said he was committed to the right to protest, but that organizers must “inform and involve” the authorities so that “an itinerary is defined and appropriate security measures are taken to secure the demonstration.” Such statements, however, ignore the reality that since July 2018, government officials have systematically prohibited all protests for which they received prior notification. Instead of working with the FNDC and other nongovernmental or opposition groups to facilitate the right to protest, security forces have over the past year arrested those who defy protest bans and used tear gas to disperse demonstrators. Protests continued on October 15 and 16, with the FNDC stating that 10 people had been shot dead this week and 70 others had gunshot wounds. Government statements have confirmed at least 9 dead but denied that police and gendarmes carried firearms to protests. The FNDC said that security forces arrested and detained more than 200 demonstrators. Human Rights Watch recommended in April that the government should establish a special judicial unit to investigate deaths during protests. Members of the security forces are virtually never investigated or prosecuted for their alleged role in protest deaths. “The Guinean government’s brutal suppression of protests and the near-total impunity for security forces abuses is a recipe for a worrying deterioration in human rights,” Dufka said. “Instead of arresting civil society leaders, the government should be investigating the worrying allegations of violence, including by the security forces, and sanctioning those responsible.” � http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: Crackdown on Right to Protest https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/03/guinea-crackdown-right-protest https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/03/guinea-crackdown-right-protest Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea Expand Police and gendarmes confront protesters in Conakry on February 6, 2018 during a demonstration over contested local elections results. Guinea’s government has, since July 2018, effectively banned all street protests in Guinea, citing the risk to public security.� � 2018 Cellou Binani /AFP/Getty Images The government of Guinea has effectively banned street protests for more than a year, citing threats to public security, Human Rights Watch said today. Local authorities have prohibited at least 20 political or other demonstrations. Security forces have tear gassed those who defy the ban, and arrested dozens of demonstrators. Guinea is in political limbo as it awaits an announcement from President Alpha Cond� about whether he will revise the constitution and run for a third term in 2020 presidential elections. A coalition of opposition parties and civil society organizations have said it will use “all legal means” to oppose any constitutional change. “With Guinea in the midst of a fierce political debate, it is more important than ever to protect the right to peacefully demonstrate,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Banning protests denies political parties and other groups a legitimate way to express their opposition to, or support for, the government’s plans and policies.” In June and August 2019, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 40 people about the authorities’ response to protests, including governing party and opposition politicians, members of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Le Front national de la d�fense de la Constitution, FNDC) – the coalition of opposition parties and nongovernmental groups opposed to any constitutional revision – lawyers, journalists, human rights groups, and diplomats. Human Rights Watch conducted interviews in Conakry in person and by phone or through secure communication channels in Guinea’s interior. Guinea’s ruling party, the Rally of the Guinean People Party (Rassemblement du Peuple Guin�en, RPG), has publicly called for a new constitution that, Cond�’s supporters say, would allow for a third presidential term. Cond� himself has not said whether he intends to run again, but on September 4 instructed his ministers to undertake “consultations” on a new constitution. The opposition coalition has promised to take to the streets if Cond� does push for a new text. “We’re in the calm before the storm,” one Conakry-based diplomat told Human Rights Watch. Guinean law protects the right to protest but requires demonstrators to notify the local authorities ahead of a proposed march or public meeting. The local authorities can prohibit a planned protest only if there is “a real threat to public order.” Since July 2018, however, opposition parties and the FNDC have accused the government of instructing local authorities to prohibit all protests. They said that none of their protests have been authorized in this period and showed Human Rights Watch examples of 20 letters they said they received from local authorities prohibiting protests. Members of the ruling party also cited examples of their own demonstrations that local authorities had prohibited, although FDNC leaders noted that government ministers and officials were able to organize events to promote a new constitution without interference. Human Rights Watch documented at least four occasions in 2019 when the security forces arrested demonstrators opposed to a new constitution or broke up protests that were held despite the ban. “We wanted to hold a meeting, not to do anything violent,” said an FNDC member who was arrested on June 13 in N’Z�r�kor�. “I was handcuffed, put in a pick-up truck, taken to the police station, stripped, and put in a cell.” Guinea’s Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, which Guinean human rights groups said ordered the protest ban in July 2018, did not respond to a September 13 letter from Human Rights Watch. Other government officials, however, said that a ban on protests is necessary to protect public safety. Many demonstrations in Guinea in the last few years have resulted in violence, with protesters throwing stones and other projectiles, and the security forces using teargas, water cannons, and, at times, firearms. “Protests are prohibited at the moment across the whole country,” said Souleymane Keita, an adviser to President Cond� and RPG spokesman. “Each time there are demonstrations, there’s deaths. The most important role of the state is to protect people.” Since Cond� came to power in 2010, dozens of protesters have been shot dead by the security forces, and several members of the police and gendarmerie have been killed by violent demonstrators. A blanket ban on protests is not, however, a proportionate response to the risk of violence during protests, Human Rights Watch said. And it is not likely to deter opposition demonstrators from taking to the streets if Cond� does push for a third term. Guinea’s government should instead work with political parties and other groups to develop public criteria to guide local authorities in determining whether protests should go ahead. The criteria should include a process for evaluating the security threat posed by a planned protest. All decisions prohibiting protests should be subject to independent judicial review. Action to prevent and end violence during demonstrations should be proportionate, respecting the fundamental right to free assembly. “The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental pillar of democratic governance and a key tool for shaping public policies and debates,” Dufka said. “The Guinean government should act quickly to find a way to respect the right to protest while protecting public safety.” Violent Protests and Response Street protests have long been used in Guinea to express opposition to government policies. In 2006 and 2007, trade unions and other groups organized nationwide strikes against poor governance and economic deterioration under the then-president, Lansana Cont�. Security forces on multiple occasions fired at unarmed protesters, leaving scores dead. In 2009, opposition parties and other groups organized a peaceful protest against an attempt by the then-president and junta leader, Dadis Camara, to run in presidential elections. Security forces again opened fire on protesters, killing more than 150. After coming to power following the 2010 elections, President Cond�’s government significantly improved respect for freedom of assembly and the professionalization of the security forces, notably by ensuring that gendarmes and police, not the army, carried out security operations. A 2015 law on the maintenance of public order also improved civilian oversight of the response of the security forces to demonstrations. Until this year’s crackdown on protests, local authorities typically allowed some opposition protests to proceed while prohibiting demonstrations during periods of high political tension or where there was disagreement over the proposed route. Many of the protests that have occurred since Cond� came to power, however, have led to violence between members of the security forces and protesters, or between government and opposition supporters. Dozens of demonstrators�and two law enforcement officers were killed from 2012-2013 in advance of parliamentary elections. At least 12 people were killed and scores injured prior to and following�presidential elections in 2015. Human Rights Watch has documented at length the excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, and criminality in the response to protests by the police and gendarmerie. Despite the risk of violence during protests, however, banning them outright violates human rights law. Blanket bans prevent an assessment of whether, depending on the circumstances, a specific protest could go ahead. Individual protests should be banned only if no other less intrusive response would achieve the legitimate aim, such as the maintenance of public safety. Protest Ban Guinea’s current demonstration ban began in July 2018, as the government faced a series of protests by opposition political parties, civil society groups, and unions over allegedly fraudulent local elections, a fuel price increase, and the government’s failure to resolve a longstanding teachers’ strike. Many of these protests resulted in incidents of violence between the protesters and the security forces. Two Guinean human rights groups, which on July 18 filed a Supreme Court complaint contesting a protest ban, allege that on July 23, 2018, General Bourema Cond�, the minister for territorial administration and decentralization, sent a communiqu� to local authorities instructing them to prohibit street protests until otherwise notified. Local authorities referred to this order in three of the letters sent to opposition parties or the FNDC coalition prohibiting protests, including a letter sent as recently as June 12. Cond� did not respond to a letter from Human Rights Watch asking him to confirm that he issued the order and whether it was still in effect.� When government opponents have defied protest bans to oppose a new constitution or have not notified the authorities of a planned protest, Guinean security forces have, on at least four occasions in 2019, responded by firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators or by arresting protesters. On March 31, security forces arrested several activists in Coyah who held placards that read, “no to a third term.” They were released after several days without charge. On April 5, more than a dozen members of the Liberal Block (“Bloc Liberal”) political party, including its leader, Faya Millimono, were arrested in Conakry for organizing a sit-in to protest the extension of the term of the National Assembly beyond the five-year limit set in the constitution. The protesters, about 20 people by a participant’s estimate, held a banner that stated, “If you slip, he will slip and Guinea will fall,” a reference to a potential third term for President Cond�. “We hadn’t notified the local authorities as we didn’t think we needed to for a simple sit-in,” said one of the activists who was arrested. “Policemen fired teargas towards us. Some people fled, but others, like me, were suffocating and so we just sat down. We were arrested but released that evening.” The activist said that before her release a Guinean judge told her that if she participated in future demonstrations she would be detained. “Since then, I don’t dare participate in political activities,” she said. The Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, state that protesters should not be dispersed or face criminal sanctions simply because they did not notify the authorities. Demonstrations should only be dispersed if strictly necessary to protect public safety. On May 4, security forces arrested seven FNDC supporters during a visit by President Cond� to Kindia. The city’s mayor had, on May 2, prohibited a demonstration by the group scheduled for May 4 as the organizers proposed holding it in the stadium where Cond� was to speak. At that point, human rights guidelines suggest that the local authorities and the FNDC leadership should have worked quickly to identify an acceptable alternative site for the protest. Instead, on May 4, the protesters sought to march toward the stadium. Gendarmes blocked their route and so the demonstration continued in Kindia’s city center, where security forces arrested a handful of participants. Several other FNDC supporters in Kindia, who were not participating in the protest, were arrested while attempting to enter the stadium where Cond� was speaking. They allege that they were arbitrarily arrested for wearing opposition T-shirts. “I was wearing a pro-FNDC t-shirt,” said Boubacar Barry, one of those detained. “And I saw another person denied entry and detained for wearing a shirt with Cellou Dalein [an opposition leader].” Another man said he was arrested for wearing a T-shirt showing Sidya Tour�, another opposition leader. All those arrested in Kindia on May 4 were tried and convicted of public order offenses on May 7, receiving sentences of three months in prison and a fine of 500,000 FG (US$54). The verdict was overturned on May 13 on appeal, and the protesters were released. The presiding judge reportedly also ordered the return of the opposition T-shirts confiscated during the arrests.� � On June 11, N’Z�r�kor�’s mayor prohibited a coalition demonstration scheduled for June 13, citing the need to preserve public order and “the decision of his supervising ministry [the Ministry for Territorial Administration and Decentralization] to prohibit all marches.” FNDC leaders told Human Rights Watch that, with a public march prohibited, they decided to hold a meeting at the headquarters of an opposition political party. Social media images show coalition supporters with placards reading, “No to a third term in N’Z�r�kor�.”� The local authorities accused the FNDC of ignoring the earlier prohibition on public marches and sent the security forces to break up the meeting. Several witnesses said that the security forces fired tear gas into the crowd while demonstrators threw stones in response. Throughout June 13, clashes between the security forces and the protesters led to violence between pro-opposition and pro-government supporters in neighborhoods in N’Z�r�kore, with one person killed and more than two dozen injured. Shops and homes were pillaged or destroyed because they were owned by members of ethnic groups perceived as loyal to the attackers’ opponents. Security forces arrested at least 40 people in N’Z�r�kor� following the dispersal of the FNDC meeting and the violence that followed in the town. They were held in detention until June 20, when they were tried at a first instance court in N’Z�r�kor�. Twenty-two people were convicted of various public order offences, each receiving suspended three or four month-prison sentences and a 500,000 GF ($54) fine. The remaining detainees were released without charge. Clashes between opposition and pro-government supporters in Kankan on April 30 also led to several injuries. Three witnesses from the FNDC told Human Rights Watch that government supporters attacked a coalition gathering at a local party’s headquarters after the local authorities prohibited a public march. Governing party activists said, however, that FNDC supporters had initiated the violence. The FNDC said that one person injured in those clashes, Mory Kourouma, died on June 19 from his injuries. Recommendations to the Guinean Government To ensure respect for freedom of assembly, the Guinean government should: Reaffirm the basic right of everyone to free assembly and state publicly that there is no blanket ban on demonstrations and that prohibitions on protests will, consistent with Guinean law, be evaluated by local authorities on a case-by-case basis. Convene a working group, consisting of representatives of political parties, nongovernmental groups, and international experts, to develop criteria, consistent with human rights law, to guide local authorities in evaluating whether any restrictions are needed on any specific protest. The government should publish these criteria and provide training for local authorities on how to apply them. The working group should then meet every six months to monitor whether the criteria are being effectively applied. If the security risks of a protest are higher than usual, organize meetings between local authorities, the organizers of demonstrations, and the security forces to discuss a workable security plan, including the route to be taken. Only if no workable security arrangements can be found, and the risk of serious harm to others is high, should a protest be prohibited. In conjunction with the judiciary, create an expedited process for hearing court appeals over prohibited protests, allowing for a decision as close to the planned protest date as possible.� Ensure that anyone arrested during a protest receives due process and is brought expeditiously before a court of law. Issue detailed guidance for prosecutors, police, and gendarmes, consistent with human rights law, regarding when those arrested during protests should be charged with criminal offenses, and outline the types of charges that are appropriate and in what circumstances. Do not automatically treat the organizers of demonstrations as being criminally responsible for violence and other crimes that may occur during the demonstrations, unless there is clear evidence they were directly responsible. Refrain from any language, online or in the media, that could incite violence during protests. Opposition political parties and other groups, including the FNDC, should also refrain from similar language. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: Families of Victims of 2009 Massacre Still Awaiting Justice https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/audio/2019/09/27/guinea-families-victims-2009-massacre-still-awaiting-justice https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/audio/2019/09/27/guinea-families-victims-2009-massacre-still-awaiting-justice Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea “A decade has passed since the stadium massacre in Conakry, but for those who lost their sons, daughters, fathers or mothers, the horror of that day remains forever etched in their memory,” said Asmaou Diallo, president of AVIPA. “Ten years is already too long to wait when one has a thirst for justice. We have the right to see those responsible for these atrocities to be held to account.” http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: A Decade Later, No Justice for Massacre https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/video/2019/09/25/guinea-decade-later-no-justice-massacre https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/video/2019/09/25/guinea-decade-later-no-justice-massacre Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea Families of victims of the September 2009 massacre by Guinea’s security forces are still awaiting justice 10 years later, 6 human rights groups said today. The groups released this�video to mark the massacre’s tenth anniversary, featuring victims pleading for the trial to go ahead. The security forces killed more than 150 people demonstrating in a stadium in the capital, Conakry, in the massacre, which began on September 28, 2009. Hundreds of people were wounded and more than a hundred women were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the events of September 28 and their aftermath. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: A Decade Later, No Justice for Massacre https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/25/guinea-decade-later-no-justice-massacre https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/25/guinea-decade-later-no-justice-massacre Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea September 25, 2019Video Guinea: A Decade Later, No Justice for Massacre Families of victims of the September 2009 massacre by Guinea’s security forces are still awaiting justice 10 years later, 6 human rights groups said today. � (Conakry) – Families of victims of the September 2009 massacre by Guinea’s security forces are still awaiting justice 10 years later, 6 human rights groups said today. The groups released a video to mark the massacre’s tenth anniversary, featuring victims pleading for the trial to go ahead. The security forces killed more than 150 people demonstrating in a stadium in the capital, Conakry, in the massacre, which began on September 28, 2009. Hundreds of people were wounded and more than a hundred women were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the events of September 28 and their aftermath. The organizations are the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre (AVIPA), Equal Rights for All (MDT), the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. “A decade has passed since the stadium massacre in Conakry, but for those who lost their sons, daughters, fathers or mothers, the horror of that day remains forever etched in their memory,” said Asmaou Diallo, president of AVIPA. “Ten years is already too long to wait when one has a thirst for justice. We have the right to see those responsible for these atrocities to be held to account.” Shortly before noon on September 28, 2009, several hundred members of Guinea’s security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of people peacefully gathered at a stadium for a rally to oppose then-junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara’s presidential run. The security forces also individually or gang raped women, and sexually assaulted them with objects such as batons and bayonets. The security forces then engaged in an organized cover-up to hide the extent of the killings by sealing off and removing bodies from the stadium and morgues and burying them in mass graves, many of which have yet to be identified. The domestic investigation, which began in February 2010 and concluded in late 2017, progressed slowly amid political, financial, and logistical obstacles. But in a country in which impunity largely prevails when security forces are implicated in crimes, the closing of the investigation sent a strong signal and raised hopes for the opening of a trial that could bring justice to the victims. In April 2018, former Justice Minister Cheick Sako set up a steering committee tasked with the practical organization of the trial. This committee has since identified Conakry’s Court of Appeal as the location. However, almost two years since the investigation closed, a trial date has yet to be scheduled. The steering committee was supposed to meet once a week but it has met only intermittently. Although Guinea’s Supreme Court in July dismissed all appeals relating to the end of the investigation, the judges presiding over the trial have yet to be appointed. Some survivors have died as progress in the case languished. A timeline of the events can be accessed here. � Guinea Timeline Guinea Timeline Victims explain in the video why justice for the crimes is important to them: “Since that day we cry and then we dry our�tears�and hope that we will have justice.” “I ask the president of the republic to think of us, the victims of�September 28.” “By giving us a date for the trial, it would give us hope.” More than 13 suspects have been charged, including current and former high-level officials. Suspects include Dadis Camara, the former leader of the National Council of Democracy and Development junta which ruled Guinea in September 2009, and his vice president, Mamadouba Toto Camara. Some of the suspects facing charges continue to occupy positions of power, including Moussa Tiegboro Camara, who is in charge of fighting drug trafficking and organized crime in Guinea. Abubakar “Toumba” Diakit�, Dadis Camara’s aide-de-camp, has also been charged, and was extradited to Guinea in March 2017 after evading justice for more than five years. Four other individuals are in detention at the central prison of Conakry since 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2015, respectively, for the stadium massacre case. Their provisional detention exceeds the maximum legal limit under Guinea law of 18 to 24 months in criminal matters. They should be tried fairly without further delay. On August 14, at a meeting of the steering committee, Mohammed Lamine Fofana, the new justice minister, reiterated President Alpha Cond�’s commitment to the trial and said that “concrete preparations” for the organization of the trial would begin now. The government and Guinea’s international partners, including the European Union and United States, have already set aside crucial funds for the trial to take place. “The trial date should be set and judges appointed for the case,” said Fr�d�ric Foromo Loua, president of MDT. “The steering committee should also address any outstanding construction needs, and logistical and security procedures for the trial. Appropriate measures should be taken for the participation of Dadis Camara in the trial, who is in exile in Burkina Faso.” The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Guinea in October 2009. The ICC is designed as a court of last resort, and the ICC only steps in when national courts are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute cases under its authority. “The September 28, 2009 trial requires political support at the highest level to go ahead,” said Abdoul Gadiry Diallo, president of OGDH. “President Cond� has previously affirmed a commitment to end impunity. Our hopes lie with the president to stand up for victims by unequivocally backing the start of the trial and for Minister Fofana to efficiently herald in its commencement as soon as possible.”� http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinean President’s US Visit Comes at Critical Moment https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/guinean-presidents-us-visit-comes-critical-moment https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/17/guinean-presidents-us-visit-comes-critical-moment Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC Human Rights Watch at Guinea Expand Anti-riot police clash with Guinean opposition supporters in Conakry on March 22, 2018. � 2018 CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images Guinean President Alpha Cond� is visiting the United States this month to attend the United Nations General Assembly, and to reportedly drum up investment from American investors. Cond� will be keen to promote Guinea’s improved economic prospects, driven by growth in the mining sector and soon, he hopes, by electricity from a series of hydropower projects. But a key question is whether current political uncertainty about Cond�’s future will lead to further rights abuses. Limited by Guinea’s 2010 constitution from running for a third term, Cond� supporters – including the ruling party – have asked him to amend the constitution and run again. On September 5, he instructed his ministers to undertake “consultations” on a new constitution. If the government does pursue a new constitution, Guinea is likely to see a new round of opposition demonstrations, which have often led to violent clashes between security forces and protesters. During protests in 2018, security forces shot and killed at least 12 people, while demonstrators killed 2 law enforcement officers. As political tensions mount, there are signs the government is willing to violate human rights to suppress dissent. The government has effectively banned all street protests. Security forces have tear gassed those who defy the ban and arrested dozens of demonstrators opposed to a new constitution. The government has done little to ensure security forces committing abuses against protesters are held to account. It has failed to bring to trial soldiers implicated in the 2009 stadium massacre, in which more than 150 peaceful protesters were killed. If the government wants to demonstrate a real commitment to fighting impunity, it should set a trial date for the massacre and establish a special taskforce of judges to investigate more recent abuses occurring during demonstrations. When meeting with President Cond� this month, world leaders and policymakers should underscore that respect for the freedom of the government’s opponents is paramount. They should urge him to end any blanket ban on demonstrations and only prohibit protests when strictly necessary to preserve public order. Only President Cond� knows his plans for his political future. But all Guineans, regardless of their political persuasion, have the right to express their opinion at such a critical moment for Guinea’s democracy. And they have a right to justice when security forces are responsible for unlawful deaths. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Guinea https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/19/submission-universal-periodic-review-guinea https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/19/submission-universal-periodic-review-guinea Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea Introduction The government of President Alpha Cond�, who will complete his second term as president in 2020, has made some progress in consolidating the rule of law and improving the conduct of the security forces. However, the government has left largely unfulfilled its commitment to end impunity for security force abuses and has increasingly violated freedoms of assembly and expression. The National Assembly in July 2016 adopted a new criminal code that abolished the death penalty, criminalized torture and incorporated international crimes, such as crimes against humanity and genocide, into domestic law. A 2015 law on the maintenance of public order also improved civilian oversight and control of the security forces. Guinea has remained, however, a country driven by political and ethnic tensions, with the 2015 presidential and 2018 local elections marked by both violent protests and the use of excessive force by the security forces. At least 20 people died in the lead up to and following the 2015 presidential elections, with at least 10 killed by the security forces. Further clashes followed February 2018’s long-delayed local elections, as well as a series of protests linked to fuel price rises and teachers’ strikes, with at least 21 people killed in protest-related deaths, the majority by the security forces. More violent clashes between the protesters and security forces are likely if, as many Guinean groups predict, President Cond� organizes a referendum on a new constitution to clear the path to a third term in office. The government in July 2018 implemented an almost complete ban on public protests, threatening freedom of assembly. Victims are still waiting for justice for past abuses, such as the 2009 stadium massacre, and for more recent unlawful killings by the security forces during protests in 2015 and 2018. Guinea’s mining industry, particularly the bauxite sector, has expanded rapidly since 2015 and has created thousands of jobs, creating tax revenue that, if used appropriately, could improve access to education and health. Guinea has also begun an ambitious expansion of its hydropower industry. Inadequate supervision of the environmental and human rights impacts of these projects, however, has had widespread consequences, causing tens of thousands of rural farmers to lose land and livelihoods without adequate compensation and threatening communities’ access to clean water. Accountability for Grave Crimes and Fight against Impunity In its second UPR review in 2015, Guinea accepted all recommendations that it ensure that allegations of human rights abuses by security forces, including unlawful killings and torture, are independently investigated and that perpetrators are held to account. Several of the recommendations specifically asked the government to bring to justice those implicated in the 2009 stadium massacre, in which security forces allegedly killed more than 150 opposition demonstrators and raped dozens of women. The Guinean justice system has not, however, delivered justice for the most serious violations by state actors committed in the country’s recent history. Although Guinean judges�closed their investigation into the 2009 stadium massacre in November 2017, no trial date has been announced and the government has too infrequently convened a steering committed tasked with organizing the trial. Those charged over the incident include former president and junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara and high-ranking security officials in President Cond�’s current administration, who – contrary to a recommendation accepted by Guinea during the 2015 UPR – have not been placed on administrative leave. There have similarly been no trials for alleged killings of demonstrators by the security forces prior to and following the 2015 presidential elections and the 2013 parliamentary elections, nor for the 2012 killing of six men in the southeastern mining village of Zoghota or the 2007 killing by security forces of some 130 unarmed demonstrators. Guinea has, in isolated cases, succeeded in holding members of the security forces responsible for serious human rights abuses. In February 2019, a Guinean court sentenced a captain in an elite police unit to six years’ imprisonment for the 2016 torture of a detainee that had been filmed on a cellphone and widely publicized. A court in February 2019 also convicted a police captain for the 2016 killing of a demonstrator. A Conakry court in April 2018 began the trial of the former governor of Conakry, S�kou Resco Camara, and the former head of the army, Nouhou Thiam, for the 2010 torture of several opposition detainees, but the trial has since been repeatedly delayed. Recommendations Investigate and prosecute, in accordance with international standards, members of the security forces against whom there is evidence of criminal responsibility for past and ongoing abuses; Publicly proclaim support for the immediate commencement of the trial of the 2009 stadium massacre, rapes and other abuses, and provide all political, technical, and financial support needed for a credible trial for the crimes, in partnership with international donors; Place on administrative leave those in government positions who have been charged with serious crimes, including the September 2009 stadium massacre, and are in a position to influence or appear to influence any criminal investigation and prosecution. Conduct of the Security Forces In 2015, Guinea accepted recommendations encouraging it to prevent “the excessive use of force through security forces, especially in the handling of protests and demonstrations,”� as well as to ensure that police and gendarmes receive training on, “adequate training in crowd control and the use of force and firearms in line with international standards.” Discipline within and civilian control over the security forces – the army, police and gendarmerie – has improved, helped by a 2015 law on the maintenance of public order that states that civilian authorities are responsible for initiating and overseeing operations to protect public order. However, although the 2015 law requires that any use of force by the security forces be necessary and proportionate, members of the police and gendarmerie continued to be implicated in numerous incidents of excessive use of lethal force as they responded to the often-violent street protests. Human Rights Watch documented 12 fatal shootings of protesters or bystanders in Conakry in 2018, eight of which witnesses alleged involved members of the security forces firing at protesters.�Protesters also killed a gendarme and a police officer. At least 12 people were killed, including 6 by firearms, and scores injured prior to and following�presidential elections in 2015.� The Mobile Intervention and Security Force (Compagnie mobile d’intervention et de s�curit�, CMIS), a rapid-response police unit, and the Anti-Criminality Brigade (Brigade anti-criminalit�, BAC), a mixed force of police and gendarmes, are the units most frequently implicated by witnesses in abuses. The security forces have also been implicated in numerous alleged acts of criminality, including extortion, bribe taking, and outright theft and banditry. The continued and almost complete impunity for excessive force and criminality by the security forces is a key driver of ongoing abuses. In the 2015 UPR, Guinea accepted a recommendation that it, “fully respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, effectively investigate all allegations of excessive and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement personnel and ensure that all perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.” However, despite dozens of alleged killings by the security forces since 2010, the February 4, 2019 conviction of a police captain for the 2016 killing of a demonstrator was the first conviction of a member of the security forces for shooting a protester dead. Even in that case, there may have been inadequate evidence linking him to the protester’s killing – the prosecutor had in fact asked the court for an acquittal. Law enforcement and judiciary officials say that the chaotic, violent nature of protests, immediate disturbance of the crime scene, and the lack of trust between the local community and law enforcement make it difficult to investigate deaths during protests. In reality, though, the lack of progress in investigations also reflects the absence of political will to property investigate and sanction members of the security forces, reflected in a lack of cooperation from the police and gendarmerie with investigating judges. In June 2019, the National Assembly adopted a law on the use of force by the gendarmerie which could be used to shield gendarmes who use excessive force from prosecution. The law sets out several justifications for the use of force – including to defend positions gendarmes occupy – but fails to make clear that firearms can only be used when there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury.� In May 2013, following a�spate of political violence in which at least 12 people were killed�– in�several cases in shootings by the security forces – President Cond� formed a�special pool of judges�tasked with investigating crimes committed by both protesters and the security forces. Human Rights Watch in April 2019 recommended the revival of a special judicial unit to help ensure that adequate resources are available for investigations, to allow for investment in training and technology; and to establish a separate entity, away from the normal chain of command for the police and gendarmerie, that could help guarantee independence from political pressure. � Consistent with the 2015 law on the maintenance of public order, the army, which was responsible for the most serious human rights abuses prior to 2010, largely remained in their barracks during the violence that followed the 2015 presidential and 2018 local elections. Since November 2018, amid a spate of violent street protests, the Guinean government has permanently deployed army units to key intersections in Conakry. Although the units have not yet played an active role in law enforcement, their deployment is arguably a violation of the 2015 law, which purports to limit the army’s deployment to periods when the president has declared a state of emergency. Recommendations Ensure that security forces receive the training and resources that they need to respect international human rights standards on the use of force; Amend the law on the maintenance of public order and the law on the use of force by the gendarmerie to bring them in line with international human rights standards, including by making clear that intentional use of lethal force may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life; Establish an independent judicial taskforce, assisted by police and gendarmes, to investigate crimes committed by all those involved in demonstrations, including alleged unlawful killings by the security forces; Ensure that, consistent with the 2015 law on public order and Guinea’s constitution, members of the army do not participate in domestic law enforcement or public order operations. Threats to Freedom of Assembly Guinea in the 2015 UPR accepted several recommendations that it respect the right of freedom of assembly. Guinea’s government, from 2015 until 2018, authorized some demonstrations by opposition political parties, while prohibiting others on grounds of public security during periods of high political tensions or where it disagreed with the proposed route. Since July 2018, however, following frequent and at times violent protests against local elections, a fuel-price increase, and teachers’ strikes, Guinean officials have on public security grounds increasingly prohibited public protests by both opposition parties and civil society groups, a violation of freedom of assembly. Guinea’s 2016 criminal code states that there must be a prior declaration with intended route and itinerary for public meetings and demonstrations, presented in writing to the local authorities 3 to 15 days before the planned event. Local authorities can prohibit a peaceful demonstration if there is a “genuine threat to public order.” International standards on freedom of assembly suggest that reasonable and proportionate prior notification requirements do not violate this right, but that requiring prior permission from the authorities to hold demonstrations is likely to violate it. When opposition political parties or other groups have defied prohibitions on protests, security forces have sought to prevent people from assembling or have broken up protests and arrested participants. Guinean civil society and human rights groups worry that, if President Cond�’s government does organize a referendum on a new or revised constitution, a ban of political protests will be used to prevent people from expressing opposition to the proposed vote, which would violate freedom of assembly. Recommendations Prohibit street protests only if there is no other alternative to protect public security, and set out and publish criteria, consistent with international human rights law, that local officials should use to determine when to prohibit protests; Form a working group or national observatory, with key national and local government officials, security force leaders, activists, and political parties, to discuss how to organize and police peaceful demonstrations. Threats to Freedom of Expression In 2015, Guinea accepted recommendations to guarantee freedom of expression for journalists and human rights defenders. However, although several newspapers and radio stations are openly critical of the government, a handful of journalists each year have been arrested and detained, sometimes for several days, for negative coverage of the government. Journalists have also been fined or suspended by the press regulator for critical reporting on the government. The 2016 Criminal Code criminalized defamation, including of public figures, with penalties of up to five years' imprisonment and a fine. It also included vaguely worded provisions that could enable the prosecution of including journalists and human rights defenders who criticize the government or expose human rights violations. Recommendations Respect freedom of expression by ensuring that journalists are not arrested and detained for negative coverage of the government; Amend the criminal code to ensure that defamation and other offenses linked to the publication of media can only be pursued in civil courts and cannot result in imprisonment. Natural Resources Guinea possesses the world’s largest bauxite reserves, as well large amounts of iron ore, gold and diamonds. Guinea’s bauxite sector has grown rapidly since 2015, with Guinea the largest supplier to bauxite to China, the world’s largest aluminum producer. But while Guinea’s bauxite boom provides much-needed tax revenue for the government and has created thousands of jobs, the government has failed to adequately regulate the industry and ensure companies respect the environment and the rights of local communities. Mining companies have expropriated ancestral farmlands without adequate compensation, threatening tens of thousands of people’s livelihoods. Damage to water sources, as well as increased demand due to population migration to mining sites, has reduced communities’ access to water for drinking, washing and cooking. Dust produced by bauxite mining and transport has left families and health workers worried that reduced air quality threatens their health and environment. Guinea has also, since 2015, begun to more rapidly develop its enormous potential for hydroelectric power, increasing access to electricity but displacing thousands of people in the dams’ floodplains. Guinea opened the Kaleta dam in 2015, and in September 2019 will begin filling the reservoir for the nearby Souapiti dam, which will displace 16,000 people. Communities so far displaced for Kaleta and Souapiti have received inadequate compensation for their land and inadequate assistance obtaining alternative livelihoods. Consultations are also underway to construct dams in several other sites. Recommendations Enact detailed legislation to require that mining and hydroelectric companies provide fair compensation for land, including through replacement land where possible, to individuals and communities that lose land to natural resource exploitations; Improve the access of affected communities and civil society organizations to environmental and social impact assessments, management plans and other government and company data related to the human rights, social and environmental impacts of mining and other natural resource projects; Ensure that government regulators investigate and sanction companies that violate Guinean laws regarding social and environmental management; Adopt and fully implement the standards of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a multi-stakeholder initiative by governments, major multinational extractive companies, and NGOs that seek to address the risk of human rights abuses arising from security arrangements in the oil, gas and mining industries. Forced Evictions Between February and May 2019, the Guinean government forcibly evicted more than 20,000 people from neighborhoods in Conakry in order to provide land for government ministries, foreign embassies, businesses, and other public works. The government provided inadequate notice to the majority of those evicted and no alternative housing for demolished homes. Although the government maintains that the evicted areas were state land, many of people said that they had documentary proof that their families had decades-old property rights over the land. The government did not investigate the property claims of those affected before demolishing homes and, in contravention of human rights law, has provided virtually no compensation or humanitarian assistance to those evicted. Recommendations Halt any further evictions until it can guarantee respect for the rights of residents, including adequate notice, and compensation and resettlement prior to evictions; Take immediate steps to provide assistance, including alternative accommodation and other remedies, to those affected by forced evictions; Provide adequate compensation to all individuals forcibly evicted who have not received such compensation. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Critical Time for Human Rights in Guinea https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/19/critical-time-human-rights-guinea https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/19/critical-time-human-rights-guinea Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC Human Rights Watch at Guinea Expand Anti-riot police clash with Guinean opposition supporters in Conakry on March 22, 2018.� � 2018 CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images. Next year, Guinea’s human rights record will come under scrutiny in a review carried out by the Human Rights Council. Human Rights Watch yesterday gave the Council a report that looks at the state of human rights in the country and where progress is still needed. Guinea’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) comes at a pivotal moment. Since President Alpha Cond� came to power in 2010 – ending five decades of authoritarian rule – Guinea has made significant progress in strengthening the rule of law, particularly by improving oversight of security forces and limiting the role of the army in law enforcement. Now though, with presidential elections set to take place in late 2020, a rights crisis may return. The government has, since July 2018, banned virtually all demonstrations, but opposition supporters are likely to take to the streets if Cond� tries to change the constitution so he can stand for a third term. Political protests in Guinea are often violent. Scores of demonstrators, as well as several members of the security forces, have been killed in the past decade, and Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of alleged fatal shootings by the police and gendarmerie. Cond�’s government has done too little to deter state-sponsored violence by investigating and prosecuting alleged unlawful killings. He came to power in 2010, but the first conviction of a member of the security forces for shooting a protester dead didn’t happen until February 2019. Human Rights Watch’s report ahead of the UPR repeats the recommendation first made in April, that the government revive a special judicial unit to more effectively investigate protest deaths. Guinea’s UPR is a critical occasion for United Nations member states to push the government to make progress on human rights issues, particularly ahead of the 2020 elections. They should, as a priority, urge the government to ensure security forces use force only when absolutely necessary, to address long-standing impunity for state-sponsored violence, and to respect freedom of assembly. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Guinea: New Law Could Shield Police From Prosecution https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/04/guinea-new-law-could-shield-police-prosecution https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/07/04/guinea-new-law-could-shield-police-prosecution Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 UTC at Guinea Expand � Gendarmes respond to an opposition demonstration in Conakry, Guinea, on November 15, 2018. � � 2018 Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images Guinea’s president should not put into effect a new law that gives gendarmes too much discretion to use firearms and could shield them from prosecution in case of unlawful killings, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. Guinea’s security forces have a record of using excessive force in responding to often violent street protests. Guinea’s National Assembly passed a law proposed by the government on the use of arms by the gendarmerie on June 25, 2019. The law sets out several justifications for the use of force – including to defend positions gendarmes occupy – without making clear that firearms can only be used when there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury. The law’s explanatory note also notes the need to protect gendarmes who resort to force from vengeful prosecutions, raising concern that it will be used to prevent judicial oversight of law enforcement. “With political tension rising ahead of the 2020 presidential elections, the last thing Guinea needs is a vague law that appears to give gendarmes too much discretion to resort to lethal force,” said�Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “President Alpha Cond� should call on the National Assembly to revise it to comply with Guinea’s obligations under international and African human rights law. Guinea has experienced violent street protests and frequent clashes between demonstrators and the security forces in recent years. More demonstrations are likely this year if, as many Guinean groups predict, President Cond� seeks to amend the constitution to run for a third term. Aladji Cellou Camara, the military’s director of communications, told Human Rights Watch that the new law is necessary to provide more guidance on when gendarmes can use force, particularly in view of the increased threat that Guinea faces from terrorism. The law’s explanatory note references terrorism but also notes that the security forces are responding to periods, “marked by intense and repeated interventions that are without precedent,” in an apparent reference to street protests. Camara said that the law is not intended to replace Guinea’s 2015 law on the maintenance of public order, which provides guidance on the use of force by the security forces when responding to demonstrations. But while both the draft law and 2015 law require that force be exercised only when necessary and proportionate, they do not explicitly limit the use of firearms to imminent threats of death or serious injury. This raises concerns that other objectives, such as breaking up unauthorized protest, could justify the use of lethal force. International human rights standards state that firearms should never be used simply to disperse an assembly. If the use of force to disperse violent protests is unavoidable, for example to protect law enforcement, participants, or bystanders against violence, the security forces must use only the minimum level of force necessary to contain the situation. They should rely on the proportionate use of less-lethal weapons, such as batons and other types of crowd-control equipment. Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life. Camara said that, regardless of the legal framework, police and gendarmes are never armed when policing street protests. “If I saw a gendarme with a firearm, I would intervene immediately,” General Ibrahima Bald�, the head of the gendarmerie, told Human Rights Watch in April 2018. Guinea, however, has a long history of excessive use of firearms by security forces during confrontations with demonstrators. Scores of demonstrators, as well as several members of the security forces, have been killed, most by firearms, in the last decade. Dozens of demonstrators and 2 law enforcement officers were killed in 2012-2013 in advance of parliamentary elections. At least 12 people were killed, including 6 by firearms, and scores injured prior to and following�presidential elections in 2015. At least 21 people died during the 2018 demonstrations, with at least 12 alleged fatal shootings by the security forces and a police officer and gendarme killed by demonstrators. Furthermore, if Guinea does experience a new round of violent demonstrations in the coming months, the government may characterize them as a threat to public security that requires a forceful law enforcement response. Guinean security officials frequently told Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that 2018’s demonstrations were not street protests but “urban violence.” In November 2018, following a spate of violent public protests, the Guinean government deployed army units to key trouble spots in Conakry The law’s explanatory note states that it is needed “to protect [gendarmes] where there are criminal proceedings against them” that are an effort to “take revenge” against the public authorities. But this statement ignores the fact that Guinea has rarely prosecuted members of the security forces for the excessive use of force. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented dozens of alleged fatal shootings by the security forces since 2010. But the conviction on February of a police captain for the 2016 killing of a demonstrator was the first time a member of the security forces was brought to justice for shooting a protester dead since 2010. To reflect established human rights principles, such as the Guidelines for the Policing of Assemblies by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, laws should state clearly that security forces should only use firearms when there is an imminent risk of death or serious injury to a person, or to prevent the commission of a serious crime involving a grave threat to life, and only when less extreme measures are insufficient to achieve these objectives. Laws should also contain clear reporting and accountability requirements to ensure that any instance of excessive use of force, and that the officer suspected of using it, is brought to justice in a fair trial. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called for the creation of adequate oversight mechanisms, such as a special task force of judges, to more effectively investigate the conduct of the security forces during protests. “As we approach 2020 presidential elections, now isn’t the time for weakening the regulation of the security forces,” said Francois Patuel, Amnesty International West Africa researcher. “The Guinean government should instead strengthen its ability to effectively investigate and prosecute alleged security force misconduct.” � http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/