29 October 2001

SOUTH AFRICA: Revelations of Swiss military backing for Apartheid strengthens reparations case

"Our repeated calls for apartheid debt cancellation and reparations from Switzerland are today being justified publicly", Jubilee South Africa said in a statement issued on October 29.

Headline reports in the largest Swiss daily newspaper "Blick" revealed former Swiss secret service chief Peter Regli's apartheid era biological and chemical weapons collaboration with Wouter Basson, apartheid's 'Dr Death'.

Swiss journalist Jean-Philippe Ceppi, once arrested in Cape Town by South African police for possession of confidential Truth & Reconciliation Commission documents, Saturday broke news of a secret 1986 bilateral agreement between the Swiss and apartheid South African governments. The existence of the agreement was confirmed by Chris Thirion, a former South African secret service General.

"A comprehensive investigation with access to all relevant Swiss and South African archives, including the archives of financial institutions that propped up apartheid, is urgently required so that the extent of apartheid destruction supported by Swiss institutions may be known", said Jubilee South Africa.

The reports continue that South African groups are preparing class action reparations suits against Swiss banks and businesses, with the assistance of American attorneys.

"We have made no firm decision about reparations suits, neither have we appointed any legal counsel in this regard," said Jubilee South Africa. "However, reparations are a major concern for popular organisations across Africa and we are currently in a process of consultation about what course of action to take to secure reparations".

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