Pakistan News Service

Sunday Oct 2, 2022, Rabi-al-awwal 6, 1444 Hijri
Pakistan News Home -> Top -> News Details

French victims ask their president to surrender immunity

20 November, 2010

  Related News  
Pak Navy making fast attack craft missile boats
French victims of bombing seek Sarkozy testimony
  Related Articles  
French Scandal Exposes Global Corruption
By Zaheerul Hassan
  Related Speakout  
Ban on Wearing Head Scarf in France
  More on this View All

PARIS: Families of French engineers killed in a 2002 bomb attack in Pakistan pressed on Thursday for President Nicolas Sarkozy to testify over alleged corruption linked to the deaths.

A lawyer for the families said they had lodged a demand with investigating magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke that he question Sarkozy, former president Jacques Chirac and former prime minister Dominique de Villepin in the case.

Van Ruymbeke is investigating parts of a complex case linked to sales of arms to Pakistan that has spawned allegations of illegal political funding, implicating Sarkozy’s ally, former prime minister Edouard Balladur.

“Mr Sarkozy owes us this hearing, to say what he has to say — he who has described this financial investigation as a fairytale,” Sandrine Leclerc, the daughter of one of the men killed, told reporters.

“The civil parties insist that Nicolas Sarkozy can be heard, even if he is covered by presidential immunity,” said the families’ lawyer Olivier Morice. “Nicolas Sarkozy must remove all ambiguity,” he added.

Under France’s constitution, the president of the republic cannot be sued, tried or forced to testify during his mandate. Morice said however that he can testify voluntarily.

Investigators suspect the bombing in Karachi in 2002, which killed 11 French engineers and at least three Pakistanis, was revenge for the cancelling of commissions for officials in the sale of submarines to Pakistan. They have also been investigating whether money paid in commissions ended up being channelled to fund political activities in France. Witnesses have told investigators Sarkozy approved the commissions as budget minister at the time.

Sarkozy has not responded to the latest developments but previously dismissed the case as “a grotesque fairytale”.Presidential immunity means Sarkozy can refuse to be questioned while in office, and he has already publicly dismissed any link between the attack and political corruption. But other politicians of the mid-1990s might have to testify in an affair that has already been seized on by media, making life uncomfortable for a president grappling with some of the lowest ratings of any recent French leader, with 18 months left until a presidential election.

Charles Millon, who was defence minister in the mid-1990s, has told investigating magistrates that Chirac ordered the payment of certain commissions linked to the deal to be halted, a judicial source said.


 What do you think about the story ? Leave your comments!

Heading (Optional)
Your Comments: *

Your Name:*
E-mail (Optional):
City (Optional):
Country (Optional):
Field marked(*) are mandatory.
Note. The PakTribune will publish as many comments as possible but cannot guarantee publication of all. PakTribune keeps its rights reserved to edit the comments for reasons of clarity, brevity and morality. The external links like http:// https:// etc... are not allowed for the time being to be posted inside comments to discourage spammers.

  Speak Out View All
Military Courts
Imran - Qadri long march
Candid Corner
Exclusive by
Lt. Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
Pakistan itself a victim of state-sponsored terrorism: Qamar Bajwa
Should You Try Napping During the Workday?
Suggested Sites