Disputed election results in Guinea have given way to demonstrations.  And it is becoming increasingly clear the Guinean security were excessively violent in suppressing dissent.  A UN official has accused the security services of firing into a crowd, killing at least four people in one incident alone.

Penelope will have insights into the ins and outs of what is happening on the the ground. (Don’t miss her excellent series on the Guinea elections.)  But it would seem that the country is teetering on the edge of a descent into violence.   In an apparent attempt to avoid that outcome, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court just fired off this missive, putting Guinean authorities on notice.

The Office of the Prosecutor keeps a close eye on the situation in Guinea and deplores that at least seven persons have been reportedly killed since the announcement of the election results. In light of the proclamation of a state of emergency in Guinea, I urge the security forces to refrain from any excessive use of force against the civilian population. I encourage the political leaders to further call their supporters and fellow citizens to calm and to avoid unrest. I invite the Guinean authorities to investigate the criminal incidents that have already occurred and any possible future ones. All reported act of violence will be closely scrutinized by the Office in order to determine whether crimes falling under the Courtʹs jurisdiction are committed and should warrant an investigation.

This is a real test of the ICC’s potential to serve as a deterrent. Will it work?

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