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Namibian group seeks ICC investigation of ex-leader

  • Story Highlights
  • Human rights group wants former President Sam Nujoma investigated
  • Group asks ICC to look into his alleged role in the disappearance of thousands
  • Nujoma was the founding president of Namibia
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WINDHOEK, Namibia (Reuters) -- A Namibian human rights group said on Tuesday it has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate former President Sam Nujoma's alleged role in the disappearance of thousands of people.

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Former Namibian President Sam Nujoma visits Gaborone, Botswana in August 2005.

Dorkas Phillemon, spokeswoman of the National Society for Human Rights, said the submission was made after Nujoma and other officials refused to provide it with information on the disappearances.

"So, we are left with no other option than to take the issue to the ICC," she told Reuters.

Nujoma was the founding president of Namibia. He led the country's struggle against South African rule and became president in 1990.

Activists say thousands of people are still missing from the country's turbulent decades-long fight for independence. The NSHR noted in particular an April 1989 incident in which more than 370 people disappeared and remain unaccounted for.

Other disappearances occurred between 1994 and 1999, the group said.

The NSHR said it wants Nujoma and three other officials to be investigated for "instigation, planning, supervision, abetting, aiding, defending and or perpetuating" the disappearances of Namibians.

Phillemon said the ICC, which tries persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crime, was weighing the allegations leveled at Nujoma, who stepped down in 2005 after three terms in office.

"We are expecting them to do something about it," she said.

"Even one missing person is a human rights issue and these are a lot of people." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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