“To all men committed to justice and peace, join your action to mine.” It is with these words that the lawyer Pépé Antoine Lama, 35, and a lawyer at the Guinea Bar for six years, concluded his plea during the sixth International Human Rights Pleading Competition, which was held on 5 December in Nouakchott, in Mauritania.
What motivated your participation in the International Human Rights Pleading Competition?
The concern to inform the vast majority of humanity of the seriousness of the massacre perpetrated by the defence and security forces of the Republic of Guinea in Zogotta vilage, in the south of the country. During the night of the 3rd to 4th of August 2012, they brutally attacked its residents, killing six of them. The luckiest ones were arrested, tortured and held for several days. Their fault? They occupied the mining site of the company Vale/BSG Resources to protest against the degradation of their environment and the broken promises of employment.
At the same time, I wanted to condemn the lack of will on the part of Guinean Justice to investigate these crimes and to obtain international support to bring justice to the victims. As there has still been no legal follow-up to the complaint filed in 2012 by several residents against the army colonels and Prefect of the district, over six years after.
Why did you decide to devote your plea to the case of Nazouo Pascal Kolie?
My reason for this choice was to draw attention to the difficult need to render justice before it is too late. Nazouo Pascal Kolie was 17 on the day of the attack. He was injured by a bullet which went through his right shoulder. He was brutally taken away and held for sixteen days in the military camp of Nzérékoré [the Prefecture of the district]. He was urgently admitted to a makeshift clinic due to his punctured vessels, but only after 48 hours of confinement. He had to make do with a perfusion, a simple bandage and some paracetamol. He was not allowed to have a thorough examination to assess the impact of the bullet lodged in his shoulder. Nazouo did not survive the consequences of his injuries. He died on 22nd July 2017.
You quote his words in your plea: “I don’t believe that justice is made for us the weak”. Is a trial still possible for this affair?
I do not believe that a trial will be held in Guinea for the time being. But I do hope that with support from partners [NGOs which assist residents], the complaints of the victims, which we filed on 19th October 2018 at the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] Court of Justice will result in a trial. My ultimate objective is to ensure that the executioners are held accountable for their acts in court.