Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 17:50 UK

Senegal warrant for French judge

The Joola capsizes off Senegal on 27 September 2002
More people died on the Joola than on the Titanic in 1912

Authorities in Senegal have issued an arrest warrant for a French judge who issued similar warrants for Senegalese officials two weeks ago.

The diplomatic row is over a 2002 ferry disaster in which 1,863 people died, including 22 French nationals. A report blamed overcrowding.

Senegalese legal officials said the judge had abused his authority.

In France, arrest warrants can be issued in cases where French nationals are victims of alleged crimes abroad.

French Judge Jean-Wilfrid Noel issued international arrest warrants for nine Senegalese officials over the ferry sinking earlier this month.

Former Senegalese Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye was among those named in the French warrants, as were former military chiefs.

Senegal's Justice Minister Madicke Niang said the nine were not responsible and that Senegal would do what it could to have the warrants cancelled.

Only 64 people survived the capsize on 26 September 2002, Africa's worst maritime disaster.

The ferry was seriously overloaded and there were questions as to whether it was seaworthy.

A Senegalese government report concluded that the vessel - operated by the navy - had breached safety standards in several areas.

The army had also delayed a rescue operation - one that the government said could have saved lives.

The Joola ferry disaster claimed more lives than the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, in which 1,563 people died.

New ferry after Senegal sinking
11 Nov 05 |  Africa
Senegal ferry survivors' ordeal
30 Sep 02 |  Africa

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