Mali: Court ends trial of former coup leader Sanogo

The court did not issue a verdict and ended proceedings against 15 other defendants

A case against Sanogo began in 2016 but stalled. A court then ordered Sanogo's temporary release last year [File: Joe Penney/Reuters]

A court in the Malian capital Bamako has ended a much-delayed trial of former coup leader Amadou Sanogo who was accused of killing 21 elite soldiers in a 2012 coup.

The court, which did not issue a verdict, also ended proceedings against 15 other defendants, citing a 2019 reconciliation law offering amnesty or pardon for specific crimes committed during the 2012 crisis.

Sanogo, a former army captain, and several others staged a military coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure after a rebellion emerged in the country’s north. But the military government, led by Sanogo, stepped aside under international pressure after critical northern cities such as Timbuktu and Gao fell to the rebels.

Sanogo was later arrested and detained for six years on charges of killing 21 elite “Red Berets” who opposed the coup.

Armed fighters have since commandeered the northern rebellion, with the violence spreading to central Mali as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, killing thousands.

A case against Sanogo began in 2016 but stalled. Last year, a court ordered his temporary release, which sparked fears among rights defenders that he would avoid facing trial.

Mali’s current government is staffed by army figures who, in August last year, launched the most recent coup in the unstable country.

Young army officers seized power after weeks of protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, before handing over to an interim government that is meant to govern for 18 months before staging elections.

Coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita is serving as interim vice president.

Source: News Agencies