The long-awaited trial of Moussa Dadis Camara, the former dictator of Guinea, for his involvement in a 2009 massacre, has once again been adjourned, raising concerns about the pursuit of justice.
After weeks of delays, the proceedings were postponed until July 10 due to a strike by prison wardens, resulting in the absence of the accused. This setback follows a recent boycott by solicitors, who refused to participate due to unsatisfactory working conditions.
Camara, along with 10 other ex-military and government officials, is facing charges related to the brutal killing of 156 individuals and the rape of at least 109 women by pro-junta forces during an opposition rally held at a stadium in the capital city of Conakry.
Initially commencing on September 28, 2022, exactly 13 years after the tragic event, the trial had been suspended since May 29, when lawyers initiated a boycott citing non-payment of their fees for over eight months. In addition to their financial concerns, the legal representatives demanded assistance for their clients to cover the costs of their defense, the establishment of a fund to support lawyers’ fees, and improvements to the working conditions within the courtroom.
While the lawyers eventually returned to the courtroom on Wednesday, the defendants were conspicuously absent, leading the court to once again postpone the proceedings. Prison officers across the country initiated a strike in all detention centers, highlighting their demands for a salary increase, as stated in a declaration from a Conakry jail.
This latest delay represents yet another setback for the victims and their families, who have been eagerly anticipating the trial, which marks a significant milestone in a nation historically dominated by authoritarian regimes.
Human Rights Watch had previously expressed concerns regarding the future of the trial, citing financial constraints and obstacles impeding the conclusion of the legal process. The uncertain circumstances surrounding the trial raise doubts about the ability to deliver justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable for their heinous actions.