Former General Amadou Haya Sanogo, the man who overthrew Mali’s president in 2012, will no longer stand trial on charges he had 21 soldiers killed after a failed counter-coup that same year. According to AP, while one woman, who had pushed for criminal charges in connection with the 2012 violence, called the court’s decision “disgrace”, the Malian government, on the other hand, has said that it will compensate the victims’ families with housing and financial reparations based on the victim’s rank. The officials added that the victim’s minor children will also be considered wards of the state under the deal.
However, Marima Soumare, who filed a complaint against the junta for kidnapping and rape during the 2012 events, said, “This decision is a disgrace for Malian justice. We cannot let someone go who killed his brothers in arms and raped women with impunity”.
As per the report, the Human Rights groups have also decried the long quest for the victims, whose bodies were found in a mass grave. Sanogo and his co-defendants did not go on trial until late 2016 and then the case was swiftly adjourned. The trial was supposed to start up again in 2020, but no date was then set for it to resume and Sanogo was released from custody.
It is worth noting that the political upheaval of Mali’s 2012 coup and the ensuing power vacuum had paved the way for Islamic extremists to further their grip in the country’s north. Back in 2012, Sanogo was backed by the rank-and-file soldiers who marched on the presidential palace and toppled President Amadou, Toumani Toure. The former general, though, was opposed by the elite paratroopers known as the Red Berets who made up the ousted president’s guard.
When they had attempted to lead a counter-coup the following month, human rights groups said that Sanogo responded with force. The counter-coup had failed, however, Sanogo later handed over power to a transitional civilian government and left after negotiating for a salary to be given to him as a former head of state.