Ex-Mali coup leader won’t stand trial for 2012 killing

BAMAKO, MALI (AP) — The man who overthrew Mali’s president in 2012, former General Amadou Haya Sanogo, will no longer stand trial on charges he had 21 soldiers killed after a failed counter-coup that same year, an appeals court ruled on Monday.

The association representing the victims’ families declined to comment on the decision, which follows a 2018 law aimed at fostering reconciliation in Mali.

However, one woman who had pushed for criminal charges in connection with the 2012 violence said she now will press for the International Criminal Court to pursue a case against Sanogo.

“This decision is a disgrace for Malian justice,” said Marima Soumare, who filed a complaint against the junta for kidnapping and rape during the events of 2012.

The Malian government has said it will compensate the victims’ families with housing and financial reparations based on the victim’s rank, ranging from CFA15 million (USD27,285) to CFA40 million (USD72,760).

The victims’ minor children will also be considered wards of the state under the deal. Human rights groups have decried the long quest for justice for the victims, whose bodies were found in a mass grave.

The government of the West African nation, though, had expressed concern that the trial could inflame tensions in the already volatile country.

At the time of the coup, Sanogo was backed by the rank-and-file soldiers who marched on the presidential palace and toppled former Mali president Amadou Toumani Toure.

Sanogo, though, was opposed by the elite paratroopers known as the Red Berets who made up the ousted president’s guard. When they attempted to lead a counter-coup the following month, human rights groups said Sanogo responded with force.