The trial of Macias in Equatorial Guinea: the story of a dictatorship

A few days before the trial of Ex-President Macías took place in Eguatorial Guinea at the end of September, 1979, the ICJ was invited by the leader of the coup which overthrew him, Lt.-Colonel Teodoro Obiang Nguema, in the name of the Supreme Military Council, to send an Observer to the trial. 

This is a report about a trial, and political implications about the future of Equatorial Guinea should not be read into it It is too early yet to say whether the positive step of convening the Special Military Tribunal and of bringing Macias and some others to account marks a real turning point in the history of Equatorial Guinea. What cannot be ignored is that large numbers of refugees who fled from the oppression of Macias are not yet willing to return to Equatorial Guinea from a fear that the commitment of the government of Lt.-Colonel Teodoro Obiang Nguema to democracy and human rights may be weaker than the holding of the open trial might suggest. These fears are hardly
surprising as Lt.-Colonel Obiang was Vice-Minister of Defence and Military Governor of the Province of Bioko up to the time of his coup. As Dr Artucio remarks, only a few of those guilty of crimes in the Macias era have been tried and the Supreme Military Council is not yet willing to tolerate political activity. There are also concerns among exiles from Equatorial Guinea about the background of those who hold power today.”

Equatorial Guinea-fair trial-trial observation report-1979-eng (full text in English, PDF)

Equatorial Guinea-fair trial-trial observation report-1979-spa (full text in Spanish, PDF)

ReportsTrial observation reports