2 March 2016
Today’s UK High Court ruling represents a crushing defeat for President Guelleh. Details have now begun to emerge of the four-year case against the Djiboutian opposition leader Abdourahman Boreh, who was pursued on a total of 16 claims on fraud, bribery and corruption – all of which have been dismissed entirely.
The pursuit of Boreh through courts in the United Kingdom, France and Singapore, extradition processes in Dubai and Spain, and an often aggressive domestic media campaign, has cost an estimated $65m. But Guelleh was not content with only using vast sums of Djibouti’s money to crush a rival; attempts were also made to enlist the help of Interpol, the US Department of Justice, the FBI, Homeland Security and a variety of other sovereign regulatory authorities from Switzerland to the UAE.
With Mr Justice Flaux describing the approach against Boreh as “scattergun”, by “throwing as much mud as it could in the hope that something would stick”, Guelleh’s modus operandi has been exposed to the world. The use of falsified evidence in an earlier case against Boreh only adds to the serious doubts about President Guelleh’s suitability for office.
But despite the UK High Court ruling, it is unlikely that Guelleh will lose much sleep over the nearly £10m of legal costs he now faces. Nevertheless what this ruling itself represents – a damning judgement on a Head of State’s relentless pursuit of a political opponent – cannot be understated. It comes at a time when President Guelleh been subject to growing international scrutiny from the likes of the ICC, the US Congress and Genocide Watch… He might just lose some sleep over that.