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Djibouti president summoned again to testify in French probe of judge's death

[JURIST] A French magistrate judge has issued a second summons to Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh [IRIN backgrounder] requesting testimony for an investigation into the May 1995 death of a French judge in Djibouti. Djibouti officials maintain that the death of Bernard Borrel [advocacy website, in French], who advised the Djibouti justice ministry until he was found dead in a ravine, was a suicide, though French investigators suspect he was murdered. Guelleh ignored a previous summons [Reuters report] in 2005. AFP has more.

Borrel's death has increased tensions between France and Djibouti, a former French colony. In February, Djibouti asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] to arbitrate a dispute between the two countries [JURIST report] regarding France's investigation of the alleged 1995 murder. Djibouti maintains that France has no right to summon Djibouti officials because of diplomatic immunity. In August, France consented to ICJ jurisdiction [JURIST report] over the case, which has been placed on the ICJ case list [press release]. In October, a French judge issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Djibouti state prosecutor Djama Souleiman and security chief Hassan Said, who are suspected of interfering with witnesses in the ongoing investigation.

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