International pressure mounts on Guinean military junta to withdraw from elections

Saturday, October 17, 2009

International pressure is mounting on Guinea's military junta to withdraw from the country's planned elections by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, and the European Union.

The Hague court announced in a statement on Wednesday that it is deciding whether the events of September 28 amount to crimes against humanity, when people died at a sports stadium in the capital Conakry. Rights groups say soldiers shot 157 people, with thousands injured and women raped, claims denied by Guinea's rulers. The United Nations is also investigating these claims separately.

Also on Wednesday, Karel de Gucht, the EU's development chief added to calls for a trial citing "an act of brutality never seen before".

African leaders called for the military junta to pull out of the upcoming elections in three months, ahead of the ultimatum from the African Union today. Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, the country's leader, had promised not to take part in the January presidential elections when he took power, but has since said that he may run, causing many people to protest.

However, a spokesman for the Guinean junta dismissed reports of increasing tensions. "Guinea is doing well, we experience more external than internal pressure," Idrissa Cherif said in a televised broadcast in Burkina Faso.

It is also likely that sanctions will be applied, as hinted by Nigeria, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States.