Cablegate: Update On Dow Chemicals, Trafficking in Persons,


DE RUEHBP #0876 3120715
R 070715Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. BAMAKO 00243
B. BAMAKO 00759
C. BAMAKO 00702

1.(U) On October 30 the Embassy met with the Justice
Ministry's Secretary General Badou Hasseye Traore and
technical advisor Boubacar Sidiki Samake to inquire about the
status of Dow Chemicals' property rights infringement case,
two child trafficking cases, and five cases of alleged
slavery in northern Mali.

2.(U) The Dow Chemicals case has been pending before the
Malian Supreme Court since 2007. The Embassy last discussed
the case with Secretary General Traore in March 2008 (Ref.
A). Toure said he continued to follow the case but noted
that the Supreme Court operated independently of the Justice
Ministry and that it often took a year or more for the Court
to hand down a decision.

3.(U) Traore's said he was aware of recent decisions by
judges in the towns of Kita and Sikasso to release several
child trafficking suspects on their own recognizance pending
trial but said he did not view these decisions as
problematic. Officials at the Ministry for the Promotion of
Women, Children and Families (MPFEF) previously expressed
disappointment with these decisions as the rulings seemingly
undercut MPFEF efforts to combat child trafficking (Ref. B).
Traore defended the decision to release the suspects, saying
that such decisions were within the authority of local
judges. He said the Ministry of Justice had no indication
that any of the five suspects (three in Kita and two in
Sikasso) who were released had disappeared or attempted to
flee, even though four of the five liberated suspects were
not from the towns where they were captured. The two
suspects released in the southern town of Sikasso were both
Ivoirian nationals.

4.(U) The Embassy also asked Traore about five cases
involving allegations of slavery that are currently pending
before courts in northern Mali. Three of these cases are in
Menaka and one is in Gao. A newly introduced fifth case
involves the September 2007 abduction of a child in the town
of Kidal (Ref. C). Even though these cases have received a
significant amount of press coverage in local Malian
newspapers, including the official government newspaper
L'Essor, Traore maintained that he had never heard of any
slavery allegations in Mali. We provided a brief resume of
the cases in Gao and Menaka, and referenced the recent ECOWAS
decision ordering the Government of Niger to pay
approximately USD 20,000 in damages to a victim of slavery.

5.(U) Qraore, who is from the town of Gao, acknowledged that
he needed to learn more about the slavery cases in Mali but
said he supported the idea of taking alleged slave-owners to
court and that if anyone was guilty of practicing slavery in
Mali they should be punished accordingly. "We don't need to
go to ECOWAS," said Traore; "we can deal with these cases
here in Mali."

6.(SBU) On October 31 the president of the black Tamachek
association Temedt and Mali's main anti-slavery advocate,
Mohamed ag Akeratane, told the Embassy that the ECOWAS
decision had opened the door for Malian victims of slavery
and that Temedt was actively considering whether to bring the
cases already filed in Mali to ECOWAS as well. On November 4
Temedt's vice president, Ibrahim ag Baltanat, said Temedt was
moving ahead with these plans. He also said that Temedt
briefed the Justice Minister in 2007 on slavery issues in
Mali. While expressing surprise that this information had
not filtered down to the Ministry's Secretary General, ag
Baltanat said the Minister supported Temedt's strategy to
publicize and combat slavery in Mali.

7.(SBU) Comment: Traore's lack of concern regarding the
liberation of child trafficking suspects was disappointing.
The amount of time it takes to bring suspects to trial,
coupled with the fact that four of the five suspects who were
released have no ties to Kita or Sikasso, does not bode well.
Traore's expression of support for legal cases brought by
Malian victims of slavery, on the other hand, was welcome
given that several other Malian officials have dismissed the
slavery complaints as political stunts designed to complicate
ongoing negotiations with Tuareg rebels.

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