The MRU Platform insists that, as a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Republic of Guinea is under international obligation to investigate the gruesome murder of locals in Zogota, a town in southern Guinea, by state security forces. August 3, 2012, Guinean security forces raided Zogota, located in the southeastern part of Guinea, shooting at random and burning homes.
“More than 8 years after the massacre, the Government of Guinea has demonstrated that it is both unwilling and genuinely unable to investigate and prosecute these grave crimes,” asserted Alfred Brownell, Lead Campaigner of Green Advocates International, co-founder of the MRU CSO Platform.
Utilizing the preliminary evidence assembled by the ECOWAS Court, Alfred challenged “The Special Prosecutor of the ICC to get seized of the matter under the principle of complementarity to investigate and prosecute individuals who it determines would be most responsible for these crimes”.
He also implored “the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial killings, to also immediately launch an investigation to identify and hold accountable the perpetrators of those killings.”
MRU CSO Platform remains very appalled by the fact that the Guinean authorities willfully failed to launch an investigation into the heinous crimes, even though the matter was brought before a local judge in 2012.
The Platform urges its members in Guinea – the local indigenous Zogota communities, activists, land rights and environmental defenders as well as organizations such as Les Mêmes Droits pour Tous (MDT), Center of Excellence for Environmental Law (CEDE) and Centre du Commerce International Pour le Development (CECIDE) to remain vigilant in the wake of the Zogota verdict.
Zogota, is located in southeastern Guinea, on the border between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire and is home to huge deposits of iron ore in the Simandou mountain range.
The ECOWAS Court’s decision on the Zogota massacre is an important message to investors headed to the region for the exploration of natural resources that gone are the days that they will conspire with corrupt and repressive regimes to ignore the legitimate concerns and cries of the people and go without check.
Corporate accountability, especially for underserved communities on the frontline of concession operations in West Africa, is the preoccupation of the Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resources Rights and Governance Platform. And with the early successes scored by and through its legal affiliate, the Public Interest Lawyering Initiative for West Africa (PILIWA), it is safe to say, hope is alive.
The MRU CSO Platform brings together activists, indigenous communities, pro poor informal sectors entrepreneurs, labor unions, bloggers, women’s group, human rights and environmental defenders and civil society and community-based organizations from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal and Liberia. For any further information please contact the Secretariat at Green Advocates International -Liberia. Contact: (+231) (0) 555139602 or Email: [email protected].