Djibouti: Was It Really an Assassination? France's Foreign Policy Spokesman Is at the Centre of a Diplomatic Row over a Press Communique He Issued on Behalf of the French Government regarding the Death of a French Judge in Djibouti. Paul Michaud Reports

By Michaud, Paul | New African, March 2005 | Go to article overview

Djibouti: Was It Really an Assassination? France's Foreign Policy Spokesman Is at the Centre of a Diplomatic Row over a Press Communique He Issued on Behalf of the French Government regarding the Death of a French Judge in Djibouti. Paul Michaud Reports


Michaud, Paul, New African


France's principal foreign policy spokesman, Herve Ladsous, has become embroiled in a criminal complaint over a press communique he issued on 29 January 2005 regarding French relations with its former colony, Djibouti.

Ladsous, a former ambassador to Indonesia, allegedly breached Article 434-16 of the French Penal Code, for having "exercised pressure" on the French magistrate, Sophie Clement, who is investigating the death of Judge Borrel, a French magistrate in Djibouti reported to have committed suicide in 1995. Clement's investigation, however, has apparently shown that Borrel was the victim of an assassination allegedly organised by the government of Djibouti.

According to Olivier Morice, attorney for Borrel's widow, Ladsous attempted to bypass Clement's investigation by stating in the communique that "a copy of the file in connection with the death of Borrel will soon be transmitted to the Djibouti judicial authorities".

This was in response to a request filed by a Djiboutian magistrate, demanding that all documents held by France on the alleged assassination be provided to him as soon as possible. Morice claims that Ladsous' assertions amounted to interference in the judicial process because they "indicate a willingness by the French political establishment to resurrect a highly sensitive affair, and by so doing interfere in an ongoing judicial investigation".

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