February 6, 2020

West Africa court to rule on 2012 Guinea massacre

A judge’s gavel.

A regional West African court on Thursday said it will rule in April on a case accusing Guinea’s authorities and a Brazilian mining company of complicity in a 2012 massacre that killed six people.

The six villagers were killed in August 2012 when police opened fire in Zogota in Guinea’s N’Zerekore region, during a protest against mining company Vale’s recruiting practices.

The victims group, The Same Rights For All (MDT), in 2018 filed a complaint with the ECOWAS Court of Justice against Guinea officials and Vale-BSG, accusations the Brazilian company has rejected.

The court deals with certain cases involving the 15 member countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

At the hearing in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, a panel of three judges fixed April 21 for a ruling on the case.

ALSO READ: Sexual Offences: We need sign language interpreters in court ―Judge

MDT’s representatives Pepe Antoine Lama and lawyer to the victims, said Guinea was not represented at the hearing but had submitted its defence.

“They were invited. All the times they have been invited, they fail to turn up. But they filed papers.” Lama told AFP.

He said the plaintiffs were hopeful of Casjustice after almost eight years.

“For us, this trial is an important step toward justice for the Zogota massacre victims and the end of impunity for the Guinean government,” he said.

He said complaints were filed against five commanders in the Guinea security forces as well as claims against Vale-BSG for alleged giving material support to forces involved in the massacre.

Vale has rejected allegations of involvement stating that it had “never undertaken in or supported any acts of violence in Zogota”.


Vanguard News Nigeria.