Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/30 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/30 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/30 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/30 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/30 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/29 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/30 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/29 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/30 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/30 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/29 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/30 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/30 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/30 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French ex-soldiers on trial for Côte d'Ivoire killing

media French soldiers in Côte d'Ivoire Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Four French former soldiers, including a colonel, went on trial Tuesday in Paris for the killing of a man in Ivory Coast in 2005 during a peacekeeping mission there.

The accused say they acted under orders to kill Firmin Mahe, who was suffocated with a plastic bag while travelling in a French military vehicle.

French peacekeepers were deployed after a failed coup attempt in 2002 which split the country into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south.

Mahe's death on May 13, 2005, led to the sacking of General Henri Poncet, who was in command of the 4,000-strong peacekeeping mission.

Poncet was relieved of his functions and given an official reprimand following a suspected cover-up of the murder.

The French military says Mahe was a murderer and rapist who terrorised people in the UN-occupied safe zone.

But his family says Mahe was not a criminal and argue that the wrong person was targeted.

They were not present at the trial, because their visas had not arrived, a fact which their lawyer suggested reflected a lack of political will from the authorities.

Mahe was taken in for questioning near the western town of Bangolo after being wounded in the leg during a clash with French military.

He was taken to an infirmary, then ordered driven to the city of Man by General Poncet, but died en route.

The four accused include the driver, 32-year-old ex-corporal Lianrifou Ben Youssouf, and 35-year-old ex-corporal Johannes Schnier who allegedly helped former sergeant-major Guy Raugel, 48, to suffocate Mahe.

Raugel says he acted under orders from co-defendant Eric Burgaud, a 50-year-old former colonel.

Burgaud accused Poncet, who at the time oversaw the 4,000 French troops stationed in the Ivory Coast, of ordering the killing with the phrase, "drive slowly, you understand me?"

"I understood the same as everyone else, that is, that it would have been best if Mahe arrived dead." Burgaud told investigators.

Poncet denies the claim.

Starting on Tuesday, the defence is expected to show the difficult circumstances that troops faced to maintain order without a legal framework.

"There is a political mandate, but in practice it's 'sort it out yourself'," said Alexis Gublin, Burgaud's lawyer.

The trial will continue until December 7.

The facts of the death came out at a tense time, six months after nine French soldiers died in a camp bombing near the central city of Bouake. Paris retaliated by destroying the Ivorian air force.

 

 

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.