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Ban unveils plan for international inquiry into violent crackdown in Guinea

16 October 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today that he will set up an international commission of inquiry to probe last month’s violent crackdown on unarmed demonstrators in Guinea that led to the deaths of at least 150 people and the rape of many others.

The commission will investigate the crackdown by security forces on 28 September in the Guinean capital, Conakry, “with a view to determining the accountability of those involved,” according to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios is heading a mission that left for the region today to consider the modalities for establishing the commission. During his visit he is expected to consult with Guinean authorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and regional leaders.

The announcement of the commission of inquiry comes a day after the Prosecutor’s Office at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague initiated a preliminary examination of whether the events of 28 September fall under the jurisdiction of the court, which tries people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said information received indicated that “women were abused or otherwise brutalized on the pitch in Conakry’s stadium, apparently by men in uniform… This is appalling, unacceptable. It must never happen again.”

Today in his statement Mr. Ban said he “remains deeply concerned by the tense situation in Guinea” in the wake of the crackdown, which UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay characterized as a “blood bath.”

Security forces opened fire on the demonstrators and also raped many of the protesters and looted the homes of opposition leaders.

Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in Guinea in a coup d’état in December last year after the death of then president Lansana Conté.

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