Following the March 2012 coup which brought General Sanogo to power, several political and military leaders were arrested and arbitrarily detained while a number of soldiers and police officers were subjected to enforced disappearances, torture or extrajudicial executions.
The deaths of the soldiers occurred during the failed counter-coup of 30 April-1 May 2012, in which the paratroopers, reputedly close to the deposed president Amadou Toumani Touré, attempted to overthrow the Sanogo-led junta.
The investigation on these extrajudicial executions began following the discovery of the bodies in a mass grave in the south-western town of Diago. A trial was then opened on 30 November 2016, but it was adjourned on 8 December 2016 on procedural grounds. Among the accused are General Amadou Haya Sanogo, ex leader of the junta, and General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembelé who was appointed Minister of Defense and Army Veterans in May 2019, and Chief of Army Staff at the time of the commission of the crimes.
Last year, Mali has also promulgated a “national reconciliation” law which grants amnesty to a certain number of crimes. Even though amnesties for crimes under international law are explicitly excluded, Amnesty International is concerned that this law could be used to block prosecutions for serious human rights violations.
The organisation urges the authorities to ensure all serious human rights violations are investigated and prosecuted, and to respect victims’ right to truth and justice and the accused’s right to a fair trial.
“We call on authorities in Mali to ensure accountability for all crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations committed by all sides since 2012,” said Ousmane Diallo.