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Exclusive Interview with Daniel Zapelli, the Attorney General of Geneva. Don’t Miss

The has been much speculation over the reopening of the Swiss Cases which could never be substantiated with concrete proves in the last ten years. Primarily targeted at President Asif Ali Zardari, the Swiss Cases are begin used as Case in point to disqqualify him from the office of the President.

The international laws do not allow for the trial of Head of State until they assume Office. The Article 248 of the Constitution grants immunity to the President in this regard. Despite this, the Judiciary and the Media Brigade has been pressing in on the Government to pursue the Swisss Cases. Fauzia Wahab, Secretary Information of the PPP has reiterated that the Swisss Cases were politicaly motivated to malign the Leadership of PPP.

Please watch an exclusive interview of Daniel Zapelli the Attorney General of Geneva on Prime Time Show with Rana Mubashir on News One Saturday 10th April 6:20pm.

Get the facts right to know that the money laundering case and the SGS/Cotecna case were politically motivated

Don’t Miss out today. Prime Time with Rana Mubashir. News ONe. 6:30 pm on Saturday, 10 April 2010.

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Farhad Jarral

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  • Cases against Zardari cannot be reopened as he enjoys immunity under International Law: AG of Geneva
    ISLAMABAD, Apr 10 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity under International Law and therefore no case can be reopened against him in the courts of Switzerland, Attorney General of Geneva Daniel Zappelli said this in an interview with “News One”, a Pakistani TV channel on Saturday night. When asked that when the case had been closed, can it be reopened if the State makes the request as in the case of President Asif Ali Zardari,the Swiss Attorney General said it is a big problem because under the International Law which is also applicable to Switzerland, the Head of State, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister enjoy absolute immunity on reopening of cases.

    To a question by the interviewer Rana Mubashir about reopening of cases if submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Attorney General of Geneva said “ if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistan’s Embassy it would be returned,” since the Head of the State enjoys absolute immunity according to International Law.

    Daniel Zappelli, the Attorney General of Geneva,said that he had received a three- page fax from Pakistan which he believed was an incomplete application.

    “But it is difficult to say because practically documents like these are exchanged between governments through embassies and which carry official seal”, he said.

    Zappelli was again asked whether he had received any request or document from Pakistan government for reopening of cases against Asif Ali Zardari, to which he said he had received a three-page fax based on the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in which it was stated that the case be reopened.

    When asked whether any department was mentioned in the application, the Attorney General of Geneva said it had mentioned the name of the National Accountability Bureau.

    The Attorney General said he would like to reply to a letter from any official agency or the government having relevant annextures.

    Without annextures with the letter, it would be difficult to respond to that type of document, he said.

    Responding to a question, the Attorney General of Geneva said, “These cases should be tried in the Lahore High Court if the Supreme Court of Pakistan declares non-availability of immunity to the President.”

    “If money laundering cases could not be proved in the courts of Pakistan, how could we do it?,” asked Danniel Zappelli while replying to a question.

    The Attorney General of Geneva said he could not confirm when asked about the laundering of US $ 60 million in Swiss Banks.

    If these were cases of corruption or kickback where is a person who had given that money in bribe, Danniel Zappelli asked.

    If a Pakistani citizen commits a crime, it should be first proven in a Pakistani court, he said.

    He further stated that Pakistan would have to provide evidence that a crime had indeed been committed.

    Pakistan’s government had remained silent for a period of eleven years, the Attorney General said.

    Giving details about the closure of cases in Swiss courts, he said “we received an application by the government of Pakistan through its Embassy to close cases in Swiss courts on June 4, 2008.”

    http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=100418&Itemid=2

    wiss Attorney General Daniel Zappelli made the remarks in an interview with a Pakistani news channel tonight.

    Asked if a closed case can be reopened if the government of a country makes a request as in the case of President, the Swiss official said this is a “big problem” because the head of state, the prime minister and foreign minister enjoy “absolute immunity” in this regard under international law.

    In response to a question about the reopening of cases on the basis of a request the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-corruption agency, Zappelli said, “if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistan’s embassy, it would be returned” since the head of a state enjoys absolute immunity.

    The Supreme Court has been pushing the government led by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party to reopen cases in Swiss courts in which the President was accused of stashing away millions of dollars received as kickbacks in Swiss banks.

    The apex court issued the order to reopen cases after striking down the National reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty that benefited Zardari and thousands of others.

    Zardari’s aides have maintained that he enjoys immunity from prosecution by virtue of being President.

    Zappelli said he had received a three- page fax from Pakistan and he believed this was an “incomplete application” for reopening the cases.

    “But it is difficult to say because practically, documents like these are exchanged between governments through embassies and carry an official seal,” he said.

    The fax, based on the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was the only document he had received from Pakistani authorities, he said.

    The fax mentioned the name of the National Accountability Bureau.

    Zappelli said he would prefer to respond to a letter from any official agency or the government of Pakistan that was dispatched with the relevant annexures.

    Without annexures, it would be difficult to respond, he said.

    Responding to another question, Zappelli said, “These cases should be tried in the Lahore High Court if the Supreme Court of Pakistan declares non-availability of immunity to the President.

    “If money laundering cases could not be proved in the courts of Pakistan, how could we do it?” he asked.

    Zappelli said he could not confirm whether USD 60 million was laundered through Swiss banks.If these were cases of corruption or kickbacks, where was the person who had given that money as a bribe, he asked.

    He further said that if a Pakistani citizen commits a crime, it should first be proven in a Pakistani court.

    http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?679125

  • Swiss: Sorry, We Follow the Law.

    Despite continued begging by the NAB under threat of persecution by the Supreme Court, the Swiss will not be trying President Asif Ali Zardari while he is in office, if ever. As per the instructions of the Supreme Court, the request to reopen the so-called ‘Swiss Case’ has met continued refusal in Geneva with the Attorney General Daniel Zappelli saying that he will instead respect the law.

    This episode has become an international embarrassment for the Supreme Court, which continues to insist that cases be reopened against Zaradari, even while international prosecutors and legal experts insist that this is not in accordance with the law, and that if they insist on a case, they should make it themselves.

    The News reports:

    President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity under international law and, therefore, no case can be reopened against him in the courts of Switzerland, Attorney General of Geneva Daniel Zappelli said in an interview with a Pakistani TV channel on Saturday night.

    Asked when the case had been closed, can it be reopened if the state makes a request as in the case of President Asif Ali Zardari, the Swiss attorney general said it is a big problem because under international law, which is also applicable to Switzerland, the head of state, the prime minister and the foreign minister enjoy absolute immunity on the reopening of cases.

    Answering a question about reopening of cases if submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the attorney general said “if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistan’s embassy it would be returned” since the head of the state enjoys absolute immunity according to the international law.

    The chief Swiss prosecutor went on to dismiss the idea that he will allow the case to reopen, saying that if the evidence against Zardari was missing and that there did not seem to be any actual legal case to hear.

    Responding to another question, he said: “These cases should be tried in the Lahore High Court if the Supreme Court of Pakistan declares non-availability of immunity to the president.”

    “If money laundering cases could not be proved in the courts of Pakistan, how could we do it?” asked Dassniel Zappelli while replying to a question.

    He said he could not confirm the laundering of US$60 million in Swiss banks. If these were cases of corruption or kickbacks where is the person who had given that money in bribe, Zappelli questioned.

    If a Pakistani citizen commits a crime, it should be first proven in a Pakistani court, he said. He further stated that Pakistan would have to provide evidence that a crime had indeed been committed. Pakistan’s government had remained silent for a period of 11 years, the attorney general said.

    This brings up a question to think about: If the legal community across the world believes that the Supreme Court is having a ‘Witch Hunt’ against President Zardari, why do they continue? At this point, the SC is not harming Zardari, it is harming the reputation of itself and the nation in the eyes of the world. If the court believes that there is a case, why not bring it properly instead of continuing this nonsense? It is embarrassing.

    http://new-pakistan.com/2010/4/11/swiss-sorry-we-follow-the-law

  • Editorial: Swiss cases conundrum

    The government has been accused of insufficient progress on the implementation of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict that struck down the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and ordered the reopening of corruption cases that had been closed after the promulgation of this controversial ordinance by General Musharraf. In an environment where Pakistan is taking initial steps towards strengthening the institutions of democracy and implementing the concept of accountability in its true spirit, the SC’s verdict had been hailed as a landmark. Delay on the government’s part in implementing the apex court’s verdict could be attributed to two things: revamping of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regime after key functionaries were removed on the court’s directives and the NAB chairman resigned, and the issue of presidential immunity in the controversy surrounding the Swiss cases.

    The SC’s insistence on the reopening of the Swiss cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and his late wife and ex-PPP chairperson, Benazir Bhutto, in the presence of clear constitutional injunctions that no criminal proceedings can be entertained against the president, has proved to be a sticky point. For the first time since the NRO verdict, the newly appointed Attorney General (AG) Maulvi Anwarul Haq has submitted before the court that the Swiss cases have been withdrawn and the government cannot request their reopening. The reasons, though not stated, are obvious: by writing to the Swiss authorities to open cases against its own president, the government does not want to become a laughing stock in the international community. Even the Swiss prosecutor general has stated time and again that his government could not entertain such a request unless Pakistan’s parliament stripped the president of his immunity. Unfortunately, this simple point could have been explained by former AG Anwar Mansoor Khan, who being the government’s lawyer, instead of arguing the government’s case before the court, damaged it by stating that the law ministry had not been cooperating with him, and resigning. Some sections of the media, of course, had a field day with this, making it appear as if the government was trying to cover its weakness by not complying with the court’s order. The outgoing AG’s ill-advised campaign against the government has created much confusion, which needs to be cleared. As the new AG has finally got down to work, his office should now do its homework and argue the government’s case intelligently and confidently. The AG needs to explain what is the exact position of the case and why the government is reluctant to stir up a pot whose lid is tightly screwed on. On the other hand, the apex court should take cognisance of the government’s position. This is not to argue that the government should not reopen all the corruption cases closed as part of the NRO, but the court’s order can only by complied with to the extent possible. Foreign judicial authorities are not subordinate to the Pakistani justice system and cannot be ordered around by the government to obey Pakistan’s SC’s instructions. We can only request them. It is for the SC to reflect if it is appropriate to forward such a request and what it will do to Pakistan’s reputation internationally.

    Other NRO cases must be opened and let the courts decide whether the defending parties are innocent or guilty. However, this is not possible without new NAB appointees thoroughly studying all the cases and fulfilling the procedural requirements. It is the government’s responsibility to satisfy the SC on the progress regarding the NRO cases. Weak arguments and a show of diffidence have so far damaged the government’s own case.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\08\story_8-5-2010_pg3_1