Trial of ex-ICJ judge opens in Madagascar

2012-03-20 07:40

Antananarivo - A former judge on the UN's highest court went on trial in Madagascar Monday on charges of complicity in a coup plot.

Raymond Ranjeva denies any involvement in the alleged plot to unseat strongman Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a coup in March 2009.

In November 2010, while the Indian Ocean island was voting in a constitutional referendum, a group of about 20 officers announced they were "suspending government institutions" and said a military committee would run the country.

Three days later, the armed forces put an end to the mutiny by storming the barracks where they were holed up.

A document dividing up missions for the mutiny was allegedly discovered in Ranjeva's home during a police search.

"Professor Raymond Ranjeva has always denied any connection to these events," his lawyer Andre Randranto said at the start of the trial.

Ranjeva, 70, is a former rector of Antananarivo university and was vice president of the International Court of Justice, which settles disputes between nations.

He returned to Madagascar in 2010 and openly declared his opposition to Rajoelina's rule.