In the Central African Republic six people have been sentenced to death for their part in the alleged atrocities committed during the rule of the deposed Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa.
GV Judges entering courthouse in Bangui, Central African Republic
GV Spectators in courtroom
MV Judges sit down at bench
LGV TRACKING SHOT Prisoners standing in row
CU Judge speaking
GV Prisoners being handcuffed by armed guard
CU Female member of judging panel
GV Prisoners being led away
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Background: In the Central African Republic six people have been sentenced to death for their part in the alleged atrocities committed during the rule of the deposed Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa. Thirty-four people were tried in a court hearing that lasted ten days and ended on Wednesday (27 February).
SYNOPSIS: The trial was held in the same stadium where Bokassa crowned himself Emperor in an elaborate ceremony in 1977 styled after the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's. Bokassa is now living in exile in the Ivory Coast, which has made no move to grant Bangui's request for his extradition. A commission of African jurists decided last August that Bokassa himself probably took part in some killings.
The accused included a former Prime Minister, a former Secretary of State and a son-in-law of the deposed Emperor. They were charged with various serious offences -- including covering up the alleged extortions of Bokassa and being involved in the killing of people and the disposal of their bodies. It took ten days to hear all the evidence and for the judges to pass sentence.
Several of the accused were charged in connection with an unknown number of people -- thought to be mainly schoolchildren who were massacred in January and April last year. The children had first been imprisoned for refusing to buy compulsory uniforms sold in shops owned by Bokassa's family. Only seven defendants were acquitted -- six were sentenced to death and the rest given harsh jail sentences.