The defense and the civil parties in the trial for the assassinations of Malian general Amadou Sanogo, leader of a coup in 2012 and briefly head of state, demanded Thursday the end of this procedure which poisons the power.
In limbo for years, the trial reopened Thursday under high protection before the assizes in Bamako, but in a new light, with the possibility of an arrangement that would put an end to it.
The civil parties have asked the court to ratify an agreement between them and the state which decided in 2020 to compensate them, noted an AFP correspondent.
The assizes will rule on Monday in this case bringing back to the first months of the serious security crisis still crossing the Sahelian country.
Amadou Sanogo and the 16 co-accused present in court on Thursday, soldiers and gendarmes, including a former Minister of Defense, are on trial not for the 2012 coup which overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré but for the kidnapping and assassination of 21 members of an elite unit, the “Red Berets”.
A month after the coup d’état, the “Red Berets” had unsuccessfully attempted a counter-putsch brutally repressed by the new masters of Bamako and by the “Green Berets” which had been acquired by them. The bodies of 21 of them were found dead in a mass grave in December 2013.
The trial of Amadou Sanogo has repeatedly embarrassed the Malian government, worried about the dissensions it could provoke in an army otherwise facing the jihadists, and the appearance of a defense minister.
It got bogged down after it opened in November 2016. In January 2020, justice ordered the release of Amadou Sanogo and the other soldiers still detained for six years, making human rights defenders fear that the case would be closed for political reasons.
Since then, Mali has been the scene of a new putsch in August 2020. The soldiers who led it dominate the current transitional authorities. A number are “Green Berets”. The number two of the 2020 coup, Col. Malick Diaw, was featured in the 2012 coup group photo.
General Sanogo signed a return to public pardon under the new authorities in September.
“I am Lieutenant General Amadou Haya Sanogo, infantry specialty, former head of state housed at the Bamako air base,” declined the main accused.
Me Ibrahim Waly Diawara quickly announced the “withdrawal” of the civil parties on behalf of their collective of lawyers. He invoked a memorandum of understanding concluded with the State and in the course of execution for the compensation of his clients.
The defense also called for an end to the trial, citing a controversial law passed in 2019 in the name of reconciliation and offering the possibility of amnesty to perpetrators of certain crimes perpetrated during the 2012 crisis.
“This trial must be closed here (…) and our clients must be exempt from all prosecution,” pleaded Me Alassane Sangaré. The defense also argues about the compensation agreement.
Amadou Sanogo, then captain, took on March 21, 2012 the head of soldiers who had mutinied against the government’s inability to stop the offensive in the north of the Tuareg-dominated rebellion and the influx of jihadists from neighboring countries .
The putsch had in fact precipitated the rout of the army. Amadou Sanogo, quickly pushed to cede power to civilian authorities, was then elevated to the rank of four-star general, a promotion considered political. But, at the end of 2013, he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the assassination of the “Red Berets”.