Jurists send observer to monitor defamation trial: Swiss legislator sued by ex-Mali leader

The ICJ announced today that it is sending an observer to monitor the trial of Jean Ziegler, a member of the Swiss parliament, who is being sued for defamation by the former Mali President, Moussa Traore.

Mr. Ziegler, who is also a professor at the University of Geneva, had said in an article published in the French newspaper Liberation that Mr. Traore had transferred into private Swiss bank accounts more than $2 billion belonging to the country of Mali. Mr. Traore is now detained at a parachutists camp in Bamako (Mali).

The ICJ designated Peter Rosenblum, an American lawyer from the state of Illinois, as the trial observer. Mr. Traore filed his suit through his attorney, Jacques Verges, and he is seeking a large sum for damages plus interest.

The ICJ Secretary-General, Adama Dieng, said that the trial holds a special importance in the battle against fraudulent enrichment as well as for freedom of expression. Mr. Dieng also noted that in a resolution just adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights all countries have an obligation to take steps to prevent fraudulently acquired funds from entering their territory.

The trial will begin on 1 April before the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris and Mr. Rosenblum will report to the ICJ on the proceedings.

NewsWeb stories