Zainab Hawa Bangura. UN Photo/Lou Rouse

28 September 2012 ? A senior United Nations official has stressed the need to assist the victims of the mass rapes that occurred three years ago today during a pro-democracy protest in the Guinean capital, Conakry, and to bring the remaining perpetrators to justice.

?It is equally crucial that all victims, other witnesses and their families are afforded full protection and that no effort is spared to ensure their safety throughout this process. Known abusers must not be allowed to hold positions of authority,? said Zainab Bangura, the Secretary-General?s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

?Addressing these atrocities is crucial for fostering reconciliation, for trust in the justice system, and for a durable peace,? she added in a statement.

On 28 September 2009, civilians organized an opposition rally in a soccer stadium in Conakry when Guinean security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least 150 and resulting in the rape and sexual abuse of 109 women.

Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara was charged earlier this year by a national court for the atrocities ? including mass rape ? committed that day. Earlier this month, Colonel Abdoulaye Ch?rif Diaby, former Minister of Health, was also indicted for his alleged responsibility in the events.

?It is important that these and other charges are processed swiftly and thoroughly, as justice in Guinea has already been delayed for too long,? said Ms. Bangura. ?Although Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara earlier this year was charged for his role in the massacre, to date not a single perpetrator has been convicted.?

The envoy, who was appointed in June, added that her office is committed to supporting the Government?s efforts to address impunity for sexual violence and to ensuring that such atrocities are never repeated.

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