Equatorial Guinea: Guinea to prosecute ousted President Alpha Condé

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Dakar, Senegal – Guinea’s military government this week announced plans to prosecute ousted President Alpha Condé and 26 of his former officials for murder, rape, kidnapping and other crimes. The Guinean coup leader also proposed a three-year transition to civilian rule.

In 2010, Condé became Guinea’s first democratically elected president, but accusations of corruption and authoritarian behavior mounted throughout his tenure. Last September, after winning what critics called an illegal third term, Condé was overthrown in a military coup.

Condé had changed the constitution to allow himself to run for a third term, sparking violent protests and a deadly police crackdown.

The charges against Condé and his government were issued in response to a complaint filed by the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) – the group that had led the protests.

Gilles Yabi, director of the West Africa Citizen Think Tank in Dakar, said while it is important for the debates to shed light on the Condé regime, he fears they will be seen as a political tool.

“When it comes to the fight against impunity, for it to be credible, it must not arouse suspicion of political manipulation,” he said. “Given the current context in Guinea, this could be difficult.”

Other officials charged include former security agents, speakers of parliament and a prime minister.

“It’s a bold move on the part of the junta,” said West Africa political science researcher Barka Ba. “Do they have enough time and political legitimacy to carry out these prosecutions? Because those charged are well respected and considered innocent. They will be entitled to a defence.

Leaders of the West African bloc ECOWAS had called on Guinea’s military government to announce an “acceptable” plan to transition to civilian rule by April 25 or face immediate sanctions.

Guinea’s interim president, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former special forces commander, missed the deadline. On Saturday, he said he was considering a transition period of more than three years.

ECOWAS defense leaders are meeting on May 6, 2022 to discuss security in the Sahel and could announce sanctions against the Guinean military government.

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