Paris, April 27 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Romain Nadal, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ deputy spokesman (Paris, 27th April 2012) :
Special Court for Sierra Leone - Charles Taylor judgment – Statement by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
Charles Taylor was today found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
This judgment has universal significance : for a former dictator to be found guilty of such crimes is a historic precedent, which France welcomes.
It is time for dictators the world over, and their accomplices, to understand that they cannot get away with committing such acts, which shock the conscience of mankind, and that they will have to answer for them. This is one of the main missions of international criminal courts.
This judgment must contribute to the process of reconciliation already under way and to strengthening stability in Sierra Leone.
Nigeria – Attacks against the press
France utterly condemns the most recent attacks in Abuja and Kaduna in Nigeria yesterday morning, which left at least 9 people dead according to the latest reports.
The upsurge in terrorist attacks in Nigeria is a troubling development. In this context, France expresses its solidarity with the Nigerian people and government.
By targeting several media outlets, these attacks seek to undermine press freedom and the freedom of expression, which are the cornerstones of democracy in Nigeria.
France reaffirms its solidarity with Nigeria’s journalists and media whose courage it commends.
France extends its wholehearted condolences to the bereaved, as well as to the editorial staff of the various media outlets affected, in particular the “ThisDay” daily newspaper.
It reaffirms its support for the Nigerian people and government in its fight against all forms of terrorism.
According to numerous comments, the Ministre d’Etat’s statement about going to the Security Council in order to get a resolution on Syria under Chapter 7 is being seen as a threat to use military force.
Is that what the minister really meant ?
We have one objective : an end to the violence, and one instrument : Mr. Kofi Annan’s six-point plan which the Damascus regime claims to have accepted. The success of this plan is now our priority. France lends its full support to the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to achieve this.
In the face of the Syrian regime’s shameful propaganda on the topic of terrorism, the deployment of this mission will enable us to verify, beyond any doubt, the implementation of the 6 proposals of the Annan plan, starting with the cessation of violence as well as the withdrawal of Syrian troops and heavy weapons still present in the population centers.
The international community will thus be made fully aware of any violation by Syria of its international obligations. To that end, France is maintaining close contact with the UN Secretary-General.
If the observers were prevented from fulfilling their mission or if the Damascus regime continued to flout its commitments, the observation mission would have to inform the Security Council which would draw the necessary consequences. As Mr. Alain Juppé indicated, France will advocate for a resolution under Chapter 7.
Our message to the Syrian regime is unequivocal : there can be no other alternative than to put an end to the violence and the crackdown and to engage in a political process.