No impunity for political killers GuineaBissau says at UN Assembly

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26 September 2009Determining who is responsible for a series of assassinations of senior political and military figures in Guinea-Bissau earlier this year is essential to consolidating the rule of law in the troubled West African country, its Prime Minister told the General Assembly today as he pledged that there would be no impunity for the perpetrators. Carlos Gomes Jr. told the annual high-level segment of the Assembly that his Government “will do everything in its power” to ensure that a committee tasked with finding out who carried out the killings can conduct its work “in a peaceful, transparent and credible manner.” Already suffering from turmoil following years of political instability, misrule, grinding poverty and a flourishing illicit drug trade, Guinea-Bissau was further hit this year by assassinations of then president João Bernardo Vieira as well as the armed forces’ chief of staff and a presidential candidate. The murders “revealed the vulnerabilities of our rule of law and the weaknesses of the system of national defence and security,” said Mr. Gomes. He noted that the Government was seeking financial, technical and other support from the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) to ensure that its committee investigating the killings can conduct its work with “objectivity, transparency and speed.” Resolving the murders is “an essential condition to ensure true justice, to contribute to the consolidation of the democratic rule of law and the protection and promotion of human rights.” The Prime Minister stressed that his Government is “firmly and unequivocally” against impunity – “we will not be a party to it, nor give coverage to any type of crime.” But he also said that many State institutions in the country had responded well since the crisis earlier this year and in July the Supreme Court declared that Malam Bacai Sanhá of the governing African Party for the Independence of Guinea was the winner of that month’s presidential poll. Mr. Gomes said the elections had been deemed free, fair and transparent by international observers as well as by political parties and candidates and he was confident the country has restored “constitutional normality” and a measure of stability. “We have thus created the conditions for implementing the pressing reforms that the country needs, in particular, the reform in public administration, with particular emphasis on the defence and security sector, as well as public finance, decentralization, and modernization of the state apparatus.”

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