Despite continued begging by the NAB under threat of persecution by the Supreme Court, the Swiss will not be trying President Asif Ali Zardari while he is in office, if ever. As per the instructions of the Supreme Court, the request to reopen the so-called ‘Swiss Case’ has met continued refusal in Geneva with the Attorney General Daniel Zappelli saying that he will instead respect the law.
This episode has become an international embarrassment for the Supreme Court, which continues to insist that cases be reopened against Zaradari, even while international prosecutors and legal experts insist that this is not in accordance with the law, and that if they insist on a case, they should make it themselves.
President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity under international law and, therefore, no case can be reopened against him in the courts of Switzerland, Attorney General of Geneva Daniel Zappelli said in an interview with a Pakistani TV channel on Saturday night.
Asked when the case had been closed, can it be reopened if the state makes a request as in the case of President Asif Ali Zardari, the Swiss attorney general said it is a big problem because under international law, which is also applicable to Switzerland, the head of state, the prime minister and the foreign minister enjoy absolute immunity on the reopening of cases.
Answering a question about reopening of cases if submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the attorney general said “if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistan’s embassy it would be returned” since the head of the state enjoys absolute immunity according to the international law.
The chief Swiss prosecutor went on to dismiss the idea that he will allow the case to reopen, saying that if the evidence against Zardari was missing and that there did not seem to be any actual legal case to hear.
Responding to another question, he said: “These cases should be tried in the Lahore High Court if the Supreme Court of Pakistan declares non-availability of immunity to the president.”
“If money laundering cases could not be proved in the courts of Pakistan, how could we do it?” asked Dassniel Zappelli while replying to a question.
He said he could not confirm the laundering of US$60 million in Swiss banks. If these were cases of corruption or kickbacks where is the person who had given that money in bribe, Zappelli questioned.
If a Pakistani citizen commits a crime, it should be first proven in a Pakistani court, he said. He further stated that Pakistan would have to provide evidence that a crime had indeed been committed. Pakistan’s government had remained silent for a period of 11 years, the attorney general said.
This brings up a question to think about: If the legal community across the world believes that the Supreme Court is having a ‘Witch Hunt’ against President Zardari, why do they continue? At this point, the SC is not harming Zardari, it is harming the reputation of itself and the nation in the eyes of the world. If the court believes that there is a case, why not bring it properly instead of continuing this nonsense? It is embarrassing.