/ 5 February 2010

Guinea junta chief’s aide ready to face justice

An aide to Guinea junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara, on the run since he shot and seriously injured the leader in an alleged assassination attempt, said on Friday he was ready to face international justice.

In an interview with Radio France International (RFI), Lieutenant Aboubakar Sidiki Diakite, known as Toumba, said Camara was behind a massacre of opposition supporters at a Conakry stadium in September.

Diakite denounced the conclusions of a junta commission report that on Tuesday absolved Camara of any blame for the massacre and recommended legal action against Diakite.

The former aide said he had only been following orders and asked the country’s interim president, General Sekouba Konate, to pardon him.

“I am ready to go before the international commission of inquiry and even the International Criminal Court,” Diakite said, but he ruled out handing himself over to Guinean justice, which he said was completely controlled by the regime and had no credibility.

On September 28, troops shot, stabbed and beat up opponents of the military regime who had gathered for a rally in a Conakry’s biggest stadium. Many women were publicly raped by soldiers and some subsequently murdered.

A United Nations inquiry found that at least 156 people were killed or disappeared and allocated “individual criminal responsibility” to Camara, to Diakite as his former aide de camp, and to another officer.

Diakite said Tuesday’s junta report tried to make him the scapegoat for the September massacre.

“I don’t blame myself, because the army, we were under orders. There is no way I could have taken a group of soldiers like that and done that. The army is hierarchy, it is orders,” he told RFI.

The deputy prosecutor of the ICC is due in Conakry on February 15 to decide whether the stadium massacre falls within the court’s jurisdiction.

Diakite welcomed Konate taking over as Guinea’s leader ahead of elections planned for June, hailing his conciliatory approach and saying he deserved help.

“I ask General Sekouba Konate to pardon me for over the events of September 28, because though we did go to the stadium that day, it was on the orders of the president and they [the Guinean leaders] know that,” Diakite said.

He also called for the release of his 60-year-old father, a former officer held by the junta since the December 3 attempt on Camara’s life. — AFP