Algerian ex-minister can face Swiss trial for war crimes: court
Former Algerian defence minister Khaled Nezzar on Thursday lost a second bid to have Swiss courts declared unfit to try him for war crimes.
Echoing a lower court ruling in July, Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court rejected Nezzar’s claim that he could not be tried outside his country for crimes he allegedly committed while serving as defence minister in the 1990s.
The decision from Switzerland’s highest court clears the way for Nezzar to be tried in Switzerland under special legislation adopted in 2011 that allows the country’s justice system to try people suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed anywhere in the world.
Nezzar, 75, defence minister from 1990 to 1994 when the bloody civil war pitting the military against Islamist groups erupted, was arrested during a trip to Geneva in October last year for medical treatment.
A two-day hearing was held on the basis of evidence given to the Swiss Association Against Impunity (TRIAL) by two victims of torture during Algeria’s civil war.
Following the hearing, Swiss prosecutors decided to open an investigation into Nezzar’s role in war crimes committed during Algeria’s civil war.
Nezzar himself was however freed on the condition that he continued to cooperate with Swiss justice.
He has since left Switzerland and is reportedly back in Algeria.