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“I prefer to come publicly to testify before my country.”

With those words, rejecting the option of a closed session, Fatoumata Barrie took a stand in Guinea this March and shared with the world the horror she and hundreds of others experienced on September 28, 2009.

His testimony there was a phenomenal moment in a phenomenal home test To hold the perpetrators of the atrocity to account.

That day, thousands of Guineans had gathered at a stadium in the capital Conakry for a pro-democracy rally against the ruling military junta, when security forces opened fire, He killed more than 150 people and committed brutal sexual violence against more than 100 women in and around the stadium.

Barry testified that the police and sex workers attacked him, pulled out a knife and tore off his clothes, and then repeatedly struck him with a piece of wood. “You see the policeman here… what he’s carrying here is what he put [into me],” she said, referring to a photograph brought to the court. “We are women, we thought that our rights were respected in this country.”

parasites and civil society groups have campaigned long For justice for the carnage, sexual violence and other abuses committed in the stadium. Although 13 years have passed, Barry said that day still haunts him: “From then until now, as I sit here, it’s the first thing I see when I go to sleep at night.”

after the first phase of the trial ended in february, victims began to testify, often those who had suffered sexual violence in closed sessions. There is a deep stigma attached to sexual violence in Guinea’s largely conservative society. there was a big problem going to court violated anonymity The first sexual violence survivor to testify, as a judge requested that she be present while on camera before ruling on her request for a closed session. The exercise is not repeated.

Barrie left Guinea after the massacre, and testified to the vital importance of accountability: “I have always sought justice. … I cannot return to what I saw in the stadium until justice is done for it.” “

For justice to be realized, the trial must proceed without interference, with judicial independence, respect for the rights of the accused and meaningful participation of victims.

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