By Lisa Vives
A 170-page complaint has been filed against Senegalese president Macky Sall for “crimes against humanity.”
The charge filed in France comes from Ousmane Sonko, Sall’s main political opponent. The crimes were allegedly committed between March 2021 and June 2023.
Juan Branco, Senegalese opposition leader Sonko’s lawyer detailed the claims:
“For the past month we have been conducting a lengthy investigation with the participation of hundreds of Senegalese, whom I would like to thank, French lawyer Branco said.
“Citizens, civil servants, people working in all of the country’s administrations have provided us with evidence, documents, contracts, videos, testimonies, that have enabled us to establish the existence of 60 crimes of murder considered to be crimes against humanity.”
During the press conference, videos and photos were projected, some of them containing distressing footage, appearing to show Senegalese demonstrators getting killed or seriously injured during the deadly unrest earlier in June.
While the government’s toll for June is 16 dead, Amnesty International has counted 23 fatalities and the opposition tally stands at 30.
According to Sonko, the deadly clashes followed his sentencing to jail time for “corrupting the youth” and represent “a generalized and systematic attack on the civilian population” of Senegal since March 2021.
The deadly protest this month following the court’s verdict is the worst Senegal has seen in years.
In addition to the President, Sonko’s case targets Senegal’s Interior Minister Antoine Diome, military police chief Moussa Fall and 112 others.
The criminal complaint has been filed with the Paris tribunal’s crimes against humanity unit.
Sonko has also requested an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Tension is high in Senegal which will hold a presidential election in 2024.
Sonko said he intends to be a candidate in next year’s polls, however his conviction could prevent him from running.
President Macky Sall, who rode to power in 2012 on a wave of anger over his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade’s efforts to seek a third term in office — has refused to rule out a similar move.
Sall has dismissed the legal complaint, calling it “ridiculous”.