Amnesty International warns delays in ‘red berets’ trial prolongs suffering of victims’ families in Mali

Amnesty International warned in a statement on Monday that a Malian court’s last-minute postponement of a former junta leader’s trial was a blow to the families of 21 soldiers whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in 2012 after they were forcibly disappeared.

The trial of General Amadou Haya Sanogo and several military officials, who are accused of kidnapping, murder, and complicity in the murder of the 21 Malian paratroopers, has been adjourned since December 2016.

It was due to resume today but has been postponed again to a next session of the Criminal Court in Bamako. Malian authorities have justified the decision on the grounds of consolidating social cohesion and concord within the army.  

“It’s been eight years since the abduction and extrajudicial execution of 21 Malian paratroopers. The families of these soldiers have already waited too long for justice. Postponing the resumption of the trial at this late stage prolongs their suffering and violates the State’s obligation to deliver justice and truth,” said Ousmane Diallo, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.

“It has also been six years since the accused were arrested or charged. As well as prolonging the wait of the victims’ families, this delay violates the accused’s right to be tried within a reasonable time, especially as some of them have been in detention this whole time.”

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