A Pinochet trial in France?

22 November 2004 by Arnoud Grellier

The first trial of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet could take place in France - without him. On 22 October, the Paris prosecutor's office called for the case to be referred before the Paris criminal court, where the former president would be tried in absentia for the "abduction and torture" of several French nationals and Franco-Chileans who disappeared between 1973 and 1975.

Six years after the start of investigations, victims' families are hopeful that examining judge Sophie Clément will support the prosecution's motion. The ruling could be announced in the first quarter of 2005 and the trial could then open "at the end of 2005 or early 2006" says Sophie Thonon, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. "This is extremely significant," said the lawyer, because "it will perhaps be the only judgement handed down in this whole affair," alluding to current criminal proceedings against Pinochet in Chile that hinge on a ruling by Judge Juan Guzman. The latter, who received three medical reports on the accused's psychiatric health in mid-October, has to decide whether Pinochet is fit enough to stand trial.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.