Karachi attack of 8 May 2002
Paris, November 19, 2010
A number of inquiries have been opened and are currently looking into the different aspects of the Karachi bombing on 8 May 2002, during which eleven French nationals lost their lives.
The duty to find the truth, to which everyone needs to contribute in this painful affair, should not, however, encourage the most fanciful interpretations.
In particular, it is unacceptable for this tragedy to be used as an opportunist argument to feed into the strategy of those whose only concern is to implicate the Head of State, through a string of insinuations, in an affair that has nothing to do with him.
The Karachi bombing hit employees of the Direction des Constructions Navales shipbuilder, working in Pakistan on fitting out three Agosta submarines sold by France. It is up to the judiciary to determine the exact causes of this tragedy, in total independence and with all the necessary resources. These investigations should be conducted calmly and with the full cooperation of the authorities.
No obstacle has been placed in the way of finding the truth in this affair: the inquiry started on the very day of the bomb attack and has been following its due course since.
Contrary to certain contentions, official secrecy has in no way been invoked to inhibit the investigations: both the existing legislative system and government practice are such that official secrecy, whose purpose is to protect the nation’s fundamental interests, cannot be used to obstruct justice or to shield criminal acts from the law.
The judiciary has asked for a certain number of classified documents to be produced at various stages in the procedure. Following an opinion from the Official Secrets Advisory Commission, made up of judges and Members of Parliament, these documents have been declassified to be handed over. This information has been placed in the case file; it is therefore available to all the parties and subject to open debate.
To date, no request for a document has been turned down. The Ministry of Defence even went further than asked by one of the investigating judges, informing him that it had in its possession other documents on the Agosta defence contract that had not been requested and that it held at his disposal. These documents have since been sent to him.
If the judiciary wishes to obtain other documents, its requests will be examined by the minister concerned case by case, in the same spirit and in keeping with the same procedure. Parliament passed new provisions under the pluriannual defence policy act one year ago. These new provisions clarify the classification and declassification procedure to be employed. Compliance with these provisions, in letter and in spirit, is required of everyone.
Turning to the positions recently adopted by the Constitutional Council and the National Assembly to refrain from communicating certain information, these decisions are based solely on compliance with the requirements resulting from the Constitution and the law. They have nothing to do with official secrecy.
In addition to such speculation, there are the slanderous allegations, sometimes presented as so-called certainties, against Nicolas Sarkozy’s person and actions, allegations that are based on not a single thread of proof.
Unceremonious accusations that the terms of the Agosta defence contract with Pakistan gave rise to illegal contributions to the funding of the presidential campaign of the then Prime Minister, whose accounts were audited by the Constitutional Council, are nothing more than malicious gossip that aims to discredit the political life of our country.
Nicolas Sarkozy was, furthermore, never either the director or the treasurer of Edouard Balladur’s campaign. He was its spokesperson.
Equally, at no time when he was Minister for the Budget from 1993 to 1995, was Nicolas Sarkozy ever in a position to approve commissions on export contracts, as the advance authorization procedure in such matters was revoked in October 1992. Moreover, negotiations on the defence contracts in question started well before Nicolas Sarkozy became Minister for the Budget.
This confusion of issues does not make for the calm required for the judicial debate.
In this matter, the President of the Republic’s sole concern is to find the truth owed to the victims’ families, who have been waiting over eight years to discover the exact circumstances of this tragic attack./.