NPA probes Ravalomanana for crimes against humanity

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority is investigating former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana for alleged crimes against humanity.

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority is investigating former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana for alleged crimes against humanity.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is investigating former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana for alleged crimes against humanity, according to a report on Sunday.

The NPA confirmed on Saturday that initial material it had obtained suggested a "reasonable evidence" that crimes against humanity had alleged occurred, the Sunday Times reported.

Ravalomanana fled to South Africa in 2009, after weeks of tension in Madagascar, exacerbated by his guards opening fire on peaceful protesters. About 40 people were killed.

NPA official Bulelwa Makeke said: "I can confirm that the process of collecting evidence is under way and discussions with the directorate of priority crime investigation have been held."

This came after a Malagasy group, called the Association of Martyrs of Antananarivo Merina Square, laid a complaint with the NPA through a South African attorney four month ago.

The association submitted a dossier including affidavits by alleged victims, video footage and international reports on what had happened in Madagascar before Ravalomanana was toppled.

Makeke said the final decision on whether to prosecute rested with the national director of public prosecutions.

Date set for elections

Meanwhile, Madagascar's election commission said last week the island nation planned to hold its presidential election next year on May 8.

Election commission president Beatrice Attalah said that the country would hold a run-off on July 3 2013, as well as elections for the National Assembly the same day. Attalah said elections for municipal posts will be held October 23 2013.

Ravalomanana remains unable to return home.
Rival Andry Rajoelina toppled Ravalomanana in 2009 and now leads a unity government charged with preparing for next year's elections.

Ravalomanana and Rajoelina held talks recently in the Seychelles about allowing the exiled president to return. However, officials in Madagascar deported Ravalomanana's wife to Thailand when she recently flew into the country with a relative.

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