Mali rights group calls for trial of coup leader to resume
A Malian human rights association on Friday called for the immediate resumption of the trial of former coup leader Amadou Sanogo, who is accused of murdering 21 soldiers in 2012.
Sanogo, a former army captain who staged a military coup in Mali the same year, went on trial in November 2016 charged with murdering the men, whose bodies were found in a mass grave, but the case has stalled after the defence rejected a forensic analysis of their remains.
"We want a rapid resumption of the trial of General Amadou Sanogo and the opening of enquiries into the kidnapping and murder of officials in central Mali," said Moctar Mariko, head of Mali's AMDH rights group.
"The former justice minister, Mamadou Konate, had previously said it would happen very soon, but it hasn't, and we are asking why it is dragging on," he added.
Sanogo and 16 others, all of them formerly in the military, are accused of the abduction and killing of 21 elite "Red Berets," who were detained and disappeared between April 30 and May 1, 2012.
The "Red Berets" were accused of involvement in an April 30 counter-coup against Sanogo and his loyalists.
Among those facing the charges of assassination and kidnapping are a former defence minister and a former chief of staff.
The bodies were found in December 2013 in a mass grave near Sanogo's headquarters.
A joint report released by AMDH and the International Federation for Human Rights said while some advances were being made to prosecute widespread rights violations in Mali, others, such as sex crimes, remained for the large part unpunished.
"The extent and gravity of the crimes under investigation and at trial are unprecedented in the recent history of Mali," the report said, as the country grapples with a jihadist insurgency and frequent battles between rival armed groups.