Mali: Trial of former junta leader must bring justice for abductions, torture and murder

The opening of the trial of former Malian junta leader Amadou Haya Sanogo is an important first step to put an end to an agonizing three-year-long wait for justice for those who suffered torture, as well as the murder and enforced disappearances of loved ones, at the hands of his soldiers, Amnesty International said today.

Sanogo and several soldiers under his command will be tried on 30 November by the Assize Court in Sikasso, on charges linked to the abduction and murder of soldiers accused of supporting the ousted President, Amadou Toumani Touré. The charges also include the enforced disappearances of 21 soldiers between 30 April and 1 May 2012, whose bodies were later found in a mass grave.

For the victims and their families this trial brings a fresh hope of justice
Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.

“Sanogo’s brief rule was characterized by torture, disappearances and extra-judicial executions. For the victims and their families this trial brings a fresh hope of justice,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.

“Amnesty International welcomes the efforts the government is making towards restoring justice and rule of law, but more still needs to be done for broader accountability of all the grave human rights violations and crimes under international law committed by all sides to the 2012 conflict in Mali''.

Since overthrowing President Amadou Toumani Touré in March 2012, Amadou Haya Sanogo is strongly suspected of having been responsible for serious human rights violations. Many political and military leaders were arrested and arbitrarily detained and a number of soldiers and police officers were subjected to enforced disappearance and torture.

Amnesty International obtained the list of the 21 soldiers who were abducted from their cells prior to their disappearance.

One of the wives of the disappeared told Amnesty International: “I want justice to be done. I want the guilty to be punished. I simply want to know whether he is dead or alive. If he is dead, then I want to know. I’m suffering. My children, my relatives, the whole nation is suffering.”