Interpol urged to probe Chirac
From correspondents in Washington
A PRIVATE US watchdog has filed legal complaints against French President Jacques Chirac, accusing him of illegal proliferation of nuclear technology and arms trafficking.
The conservative Judicial Watch today said it had filed complaints against Chirac and officials of other countries and corporations with the international police organisation Interpol and the European Police Office (Europol), demanding an investigation.
There has been widespread anger in right-wing circles in the United States over France's opposition to the war in Iraq and its role in blocking a resolution at the United Nations to authorise the use of military force.
Judicial Watch said it had filed complaints "for the unlawful proliferation of nuclear technology, the unlawful trafficking of arms and military technology, and the violation of UN trade sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as additional UN sanctions relating to the so-called 'oil-for-food' program".
The group said that it particularly wanted an investigation of "financial contacts and dealings" between Chirac's Rally for the Republic party and government officials and corporations.
"These unlawful activities involve private persons from France, Iraq, the People's Republic of China and Syria. It is likely that several other parties and countries, unknown at this time, are also involved in the criminal conspiracy," it said.
The Judicial Watch statement referred to a 1991 book by French journalists Claude Angeli and Stephanie Mesnier which included details from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on his links with French politicians.
Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman highlighted in the statement that Chirac had also been accused of accepting bribes while he was mayor of Paris, but that a court had ruled he could not be prosecuted until he left office.
"However, Interpol and Europol have no constraints on beginning an investigation of President Chirac," Klayman said.