Gabon faces 'torture' case in France over post-poll violence

2016-09-22 07:32
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Lawyers on Wednesday launched a suit in France claiming the government of Gabon committed "crimes against humanity" during days of violence following the central African country's disputed presidential election last month.

The suit claims the Libreville government "plotted to carry out arbitrary arrests and detentions... torture and barbarous acts, attempted murder and crimes against humanity," lawyer William Bourdon told a Paris news conference.

The former French colony was plunged into an unprecedented political crisis after incumbent President Ali Bongo was declared the winner of the August 27 election by just 6 000 votes.

Three people died in post-election violence, according to the authorities, while the opposition puts the death toll at more than 50.

The French lawyers invoked universal jurisdiction, which allows states to rule on serious crimes regardless of where the wrongdoing was committed.

Political decisions 

Two French-Gabonese dual nationals are the first individuals to join the action, charging arbitrary arrest and detention, the lawyers said.

One is a resident of France who was arrested upon his arrival in Libreville on August 28 and remains in prison.

The other, who attended the news conference, was arrested overnight on August 31 at the party headquarters of opposition leader Jean Ping.

Requesting anonymity, he recounted a night of "horror and carnage" during which he said dozens of people were killed or wounded by masked men carrying out a "methodical" attack at Ping's headquarters.

Other Franco-Gabonese families are expected to join the action against Gabon in the coming weeks, Bourdon said.

The plaintiffs are considering taking the case to the International Criminal Court, the lawyers said.

The ICC may accept the charge of crimes against humanity "given the logistics, preparation (and) premeditation against a civilian population that was totally unarmed," Bourdon said.

"The general, systematic, organised nature of this massacre, of this torture" was the result of "political decisions backed by the political-military leadership" in Gabon, he added.

Organisers of an opposition hotline have said they have received 21 reports of deaths and 19 of missing people.

The Gabonese government on Wednesday warned Ping that it would hold him responsible for any new violence ahead of Friday, when the Constitutional Court is due to rule on Ping's challenge of the election result.

Read more on:    france  |  gabon  |  west africa  |  gabon 2016 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.