Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interpol Declines To Honor French Judge’s Request For Arrest Of Equatorial Guinean Official

The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as INTERPOL, has informed the government of Equatorial Guinea that it has blocked a request by a French investigating magistrate for an international arrest warrant for the Second Vice President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue. 

In a statement issued this past weekend, INTERPOL said that “international police cooperation through INTERPOL’s channels would not be, in this case, consistent with the Constitution and Rules of the Organization.”

The investigative magistrate is pursuing charges brought by an NGO, not the French government, that a residence and furnishings in Paris were purchased by Vice President Nguema with the fruits of corruption. Vice President Nguema and the government of Equatorial Guinea have denied the charges.  The government of Equatorial Guinea has said that the property in question is diplomatic property owned by the state, and has charged the French government with violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.  In a related matter a member of the NGO that has made the allegations is, himself, avoiding an international arrest warrant.

In a statement, the government of Equatorial Guinea said, “This decision is a first recognition of international law that was always been demanded by the Government of Equatorial Guinea, and should be translated immediately into the abandonment of the legal process undertaken in recognition of the error committed by the French investigating magistrate, restoring to the Equatorial Guinean State all the confiscated goods.”