I never thought I would live in a town where a war crimes trial would be held.
Amadou Sanogo, formerly of Sikasso, Mali, was one of the main instigators in the the 2012 Coup to oust the President Amadou Toumani Touré.
The coup inadvertently enabled Jihadists to occupy almost 50% of the country and lead to the serious security mess we have to this day.
A few weeks after the coup , the Red Berets, an elite paratrooper group, charged with defending the President, attempted a counter coup against Sanogo’s men. Sanogo’s troops chased down, contained, and allegedly tortured them, then they disappeared. Twenty five of the Red Beret bodies were later discovered in a mass grave, one of two such mass graves unearthed.
Of course the families are asking for justice, and have never stopped. The rest of the country couldn’t seem to care less about the crimes. The International community and families are asking for justice, but most Malians seem to have the attitude of “Simply leave things be, let him go, it is over.”
I have been passing the big wig judges on my motorcycle for a week. I have seen the arrival of the over one hundred soldiers in support of Sanogo. They are constantly around town. Every corner has police on it these days, even deep into the communities, which is unusual. Security at hotels is high as well.
Today I was at one of my watering holes eating my rice and peanut sauce, alone, when two men in suits walked in and greeted me. I recognized one of them, as I had seen his picture on twitter associated with the war crimes trial. He sits in the second row.
Anyway, the court was suspended on Friday, until today, Monday, December 5th. the proceedings were adjourned again today, until Wednesday.
There was heated debate this morning as witnesses are not appearing for the defense. Also, if I understand the the talk I over heard, the witnesses for the prosecution did not arrive today either. No one seems to know where they are, or why they did not appear today.
Anyway, it seems to be turning into a Kangaroo court.
However, this is no Kangaroo crime, as if convicted Sanogo will receive the death penalty.
There have been people protesting his innocence in Sikasso. More than one hundred soldiers arrived in Sikasso on Thursday to “show support” for Sanogo.
Anyway, if there is a guilty verdict. I will be honest, there is a huge potential keg being sat on here. Sikasso is a very small town.
These two men asked me how the dinner was today, to which I gave a favorable response. From the table beside me one suited gentleman made at least a dozen calls explaining to people what happened in the court case today, on speaker phone. I heard heard all the discussion.
This was hard on the head. Who thought I would ever be in the town of a War crimes trial over mass graves and torture? It was hard on the heart.
Who would have thought I would ever have talked with people involved in such a trial?
Who would have ever thought I would be sitting there, overhearing a summary of how things will proceed in the case under the current circumstances?
I will be honest. It makes me rather sick to my stomach. Too close for my comfort.
Way too close. I hurried home.
May truth and justice be honored. May this town keep peace after the verdict.