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Guinea opened a landmark trial Wednesday 13 years after a stadium massacre by the military left at least 157 protesters dead and dozens of women raped, with the country’s former coup leader Moussa “Dadis” Camara among those charged.

The court proceeding began a day after Camara and five more defendants were detained in the capital, Conakry, pending the outcome of the trial. A dozen men in total have been charged with crimes including murder and rape in connection with the 2009 attacks.

“Thirteen years later, let’s do everything possible to ensure that the horror of massacres does not happen again in Guinea,” said Djibril Kouyate, the president of the Guinean National Bar Association, during a speech at the trial’s opening. “Those who died will not speak again, but their bloodshed demands justice.”

Karim Ahmad Saad Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, told those gathered Wednesday that “13 years is a long time” and applauded the victims’ family members for keeping their patience.

“September 28 has become a day of sadness,” he said. “We have the opportunity, you have created the space for September 28 to be a day of promise and hope.”

Demonstrators had gathered at the stadium that day to protest then-coup leader Camara’s plans to run for president when security forces opened fire. The junta said that “uncontrolled” elements of the army carried out the rapes and killings. But a Human Rights Watch investigation found that Camara’s top aides were at the stadium and did nothing to stop the violence.


An alleged senior leader of a predominantly Muslim rebel group that ousted the president of Central African Republic in 2013 pleaded not guilty Monday to seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

A court spokesman said the opening of the trial of Mahamat Said marked the end of a long wait for justice for victims in the mineral-rich but impoverished Central African Republic.

The country’s people “have been already waiting a long period of time. It is almost nine years now,” to see a member of the Seleka rebel group stand trial at the global court, spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told The Associated Press.

After a court officer read out charges including torture, unlawful imprisonment and persecution, Said told a three-judge panel: “I have listened to everything and I am pleading not guilty.”

Said, 52, is accused of running a detention center in the capital, Bangui, called the Central Office for the Repression of Banditry, from April to August 2013 where he and dozens of Seleka rebels allegedly held prisoners perceived as supporters of ex-President Francois Bozize in inhumane conditions and subjected them to torture and brutal interrogations including whipping and beating them with truncheons and rifle butts.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, told judges that his team would prove Said’s guilt at a trial that is expected to last months. Prosecutors are expected to call 43 witnesses.

“By the end of this trial, you will be convinced that in relation to all seven counts Mr. Said will be found guilty,” Khan said.

He said that Said was “not a passive spectator” but an active participant in crimes, hunting down civilians and bringing them to the detention center “knowing exactly what he had planned for them, what a nightmare awaited them under his control and custody.”

Defense lawyers are scheduled to make an opening statement after the prosecutors have finished.

Fighting in Bangui in 2013 between the Seleka rebels, who seized power from Bozize, and a mainly Christian militia called the anti-Balaka left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more.



The international court convened in Cambodia to judge the Khmer Rouge for its brutal 1970s rule ended its work Thursday after spending $337 million and 16 years to convict just three men of crimes after the regime caused the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people.

In its final session, the U.N.-assisted tribunal rejected an appeal by Khieu Samphan, the last surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge government that ruled Cambodia from 1975-79. It reaffirmed the life sentence he received after being convicted in 2018 of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Busloads of ordinary Cambodians turned up to watch the final proceedings of a tribunal that had sought to bring justice, accountability and explanations for the crimes. Many of those attending Thursday’s session lived through the Khmer Rouge terror, including survivors Bou Meng and Chum Mey, who had given evidence at the tribunal over the years.

Khieu Samphan, sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a white windbreaker and a face mask, listened to the proceedings on headphones.

He was the group’s nominal head of state but, in his trial defense, denied having real decision-making powers when the Khmer Rouge carried out a reign of terror to establish a utopian agrarian society, causing Cambodians’ deaths from execution, starvation and inadequate medical care. It was ousted from power in 1979 by an invasion from neighboring communist state Vietnam.


In Mexico, a long list of nonviolent crimes — such as home burglary and freight and fuel theft — bring automatic pretrial detention, with no bail or house arrest allowed.

Mexico’s Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on that “no-bail” policy, with some justices arguing it violates international treaties that say pretrial detention should be used only in “exceptional” cases to prevent suspects from fleeing justice.

Suspects accused of murder and other violent crimes seldom get released on bail anywhere in the world. But in Mexico, the list of charges that allow a suspect to be detained pending trial has grown to 16, among them abuse of authority, corruption and electoral crime.

Yet only about two of every 10 people accused of a crime in Mexico are ever found guilty. That means that of the estimated 92,000 suspects now in cells pending trial, often with hardened criminals, around 75,000 will spend years locked up in Mexico’s crowded, dangerous prisons, unlikely to be convicted.

Trials in Mexico can drag on for a surprisingly long time. Two men were recently released with ankle monitors after spending 17 years in prison while on trial for murder. Strangely, now that they have been convicted, they are both out while pursuing appeals.


Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected challenges to the official results of the presidential election and upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s narrow win in East Africa’s most stable democracy.

Ruto is expected to be sworn in on Sept. 13. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had alleged irregularities in the otherwise peaceful Aug. 9 election that was marked by last-minute drama when the electoral commission split and traded accusations of misconduct.

The court found little or no evidence for the various allegations and called some “nothing more than hot air.” It also expressed puzzlement why the four dissenting commissioners participated until the final minutes in a vote-tallying process they criticized as opaque.

The commission “needs far-reaching reforms,” the court acknowledged, “but are we to nullify an election on the basis of a last-minute boardroom rupture?”

The Supreme Court shocked Kenyans in the previous election in 2017 by overturning the results of the presidential election, a first in Africa, and ordered a new vote after Odinga filed a challenge. He then boycotted that new election.

This time, Odinga was backed by former rival and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in the latest example of shifting political alliances. Odinga’s team had challenged the technology used by the electoral commission and alleged that voting results had been tampered with, and it argued that the electoral commission chair had essentially acted alone in declaring the winner.

The election had been seen as the country’s most transparent, with results from tens of thousands of polling stations posted online within hours of the vote for Kenyans to follow the tally themselves. Such reforms were in part the result of Odinga’s previous election challenge.


Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Monday received a petition from opposition lawmakers seeking a ruling on whether Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has reached the legal limit on how long he can remain in office.

The petition, signed by 171 members of the House of Representatives, asks the nine-member court to rule on an article in the constitution limiting prime ministers to eight years in office.

The court is widely expected to announce on Wednesday whether it will rule on the petition. It is uncertain whether the court, if it accepts the case, would temporarily suspend Prayuth from his duties until it issues a ruling.

At issue is the date that should be used in determining how long he has been in office. Prayuth, then army commander, seized power in May 2014 after toppling an elected government in a military coup. He led a ruling junta and was installed as prime minister on Aug. 24, 2014, under a provisional post-coup constitution.

His critics and several legal experts contend this means he will complete eight years in office on Tuesday.

His supporters say the country’s current constitution, which contains the provision limiting prime ministers to eight years, came into effect on April 6, 2017, and that should be used as the starting date. An even more generous interpretation is that the countdown began on June 9, 2019, when Prayuth took office under the new constitution following a 2019 general election.

The move to oust Prayuth has raised political tensions. Polls show the prime minister’s popularity is at a low ebb and his critics have been seeking his exit for more then two years, saying he came to power illegitimately. He has also been accused of mishandling the economy and botching Thailand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The lawyer for a Palestinian prisoner said Tuesday that her client will appeal his case to Israel’s Supreme Court as he continues what his family says is a 165-day hunger strike against his detention.

Also Tuesday, an Israeli military court extended the sentence for a second Palestinian prisoner by six days.

The release of both men — hunger striker Khalil Awawdeh and Bassam al-Saadi, a West Bank Islamic Jihad leader — was among the demands of the militant group for a cease-fire to last week’s intense fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Khalil Awawdeh is protesting being held without charge or trial under what Israel refers to as administrative detention. Ahlam Haddad, Awawdeh’s lawyer, said her client’s health is deteriorating and that they asked that he be released. An Israeli military court on Monday rejected an appeal.

“Justice was not done,” Haddad said. “We turn to... the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, in order maybe to get the relief requested, which is his release from administrative detention.”

Awawdeh, a 40-year-old father of four, is one of several Palestinian prisoners who have gone on prolonged hunger strikes over the years to protest administrative detention. Israel says the policy helps keep dangerous militants off the streets and allows the government to hold suspects without divulging sensitive intelligence. Critics say the policy denies prisoners due process.

Israel says Awawdeh is a militant, an allegation he has denied through his lawyer.

The Islamic Jihad militant group demanded his release as part of an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire ending three days of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip earlier this month but did not identify him as its member. Israel arrested al-Saadi in the days leading up to the Gaza flare-up.

Haddad said her client has not eaten during the strike, except for a 10-day period in which he received vitamin injections, according to his family. Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service has not commented on his case.

Israel is currently holding some 4,400 Palestinian prisoners, including militants who have carried out deadly attacks, as well as people arrested at protests or for throwing stones. Around 670 Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention, a number that jumped in March as Israel began near-nightly arrest raids in the occupied West Bank following a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis.

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