Summary of articles published in the press
- IF MOM DIES, THE WORLD MUST KNOW THE TRUTH / Dimanche.ch, August 11, 2002
- JUSTICE – FRENCH REFUGEE MOTHERS IN SWITZERLAND / 24Heures, August 15, 2002
- PEDOPHILIA – FRENCH REFUGEE MOTHERS IN THE CANTON OF VAUD / 24Heures, July 18, 2002
- VAUD – FRENCH MOTHERS HIDING FROM THEIR PEDOPHILIC HUSBANDS / 24Heures, February 2, 2002
- EDITORIAL AND REFLECTIONS – OPINIONS / 24Heures, February 2, 2002 – Abused children are our children
- IMPRISONED FOR REFUSAL OF THE FATHER'S VISITATION RIGHTS / Le Temps, July 6, 2002
- RENVOYÉ DANS LA GUEULE DU LOUP / L’Illustré, 3 juillet 2002
- PHOTO CIDE ET INTERPOL / Paris Match, 29 mai 1997
Dimanche.ch, 11th of August 2002
IF MOM DIES, THE WORLD MUST KNOW THE TRUTH
After fleeing France to protect her daughter from her father's abuse, Bozena Borowiec was forced by the Federal Office of Justice to return to her country because of an international arrest warrant. Testimony of her son Sébastien
Hard blow for Bozena Borowiec, one of those French women who arrived in Switzerland to protect their child from sexual abuse allegedly committed by the father. She is incarcerated at the Hospital de l'Ile in Bern since July 5. And the Federal Office of Justice has just granted her extradition to France on Thursday, where she was sentenced to one year in prison for not presenting her child to the father. She was under an international arrest warrant. Separated from her daughter
Arrested on June 11 by the Vaud cantonal police and separated from her daughter C., she tried to commit suicide and went on a hunger strike for fifty-six days. She interrupted it in order to be able to defend herself during the procedure initiated by the father to have C. returned to France. But when she learned on Thursday the news of his extradition by the media, she decided, desperate, to start again her hunger strike, demanding even to be euthanized. Me Anne-Louise Gilliéron, her lawyer, will soon launch an appeal against her extradition.
Alors que Bozena Borowiec est vue par la justice française comme déséquilibrée, Georges Glatz, président du Comité international pour la dignité de l’enfant, (CIDE), la décrit différemment: «Cette mère est venue me voir spontanément avec sa fille. Au vu de ce qu’elle m’a dit et des pièces du dossier, je considère son témoignage comme crédible. L’affaire devrait être rouverte et réexaminée. C’est dans ce sens que j’ai écrit au président Jacques Chirac», relève-t-il.
For two weeks, Sebastien, 21 years old and the eldest of her children, has been fighting by creating a website. He delivers a poignant testimony on the journey of his mother whom he visited on Monday at the hospital and who he describes as "skeletal".
"Originally from Poland, my mother joined her first husband at the age of 21, who had arrived in France a few years earlier. After fourteen years, they separated. My mother wanted to get custody of her children. Since she could not find a suitable home, we were entrusted to our father," he explains. Two years passed. Bozena Borowiec met a man in his forties with whom she had a little girl in October 1997. Her partner did not live under the same roof and did not claim her until several months after her birth. He is allowed to visit her twice a month. But some disturbing behaviors occur: "From the age of 2 years and after each visit to his father, my sister remained huddled in the arms of my mother for hours, mute," he remembers. One day, after going to the bathroom, she came back with her pants down and said, "Daddy touch it, with his tongue, it hurts." My mom checked her and found lesions on the vaginal mucosa." According to Brigitte Plaza, the French lawyer of Bozena Borowiec, several doctors will make the same findings and will establish certificates that the judges will not take into account.
"Daddy lies on top of me at night"
Later, C. crudely details some scenes: "Daddy lies on top of me at night. He hurts me with his fingers too." She shares a room with her older brother: "C. often wakes up during the night, has nightmares and moans in her sleep," says Sebastian. Her mother is even more active: visits to the juvenile brigade, testimony of her daughter to the commissioner and to psychologists who also establish certificates. She wrote to the president, to ministers and to associations. Unfortunately, she filed a complaint for sexual abuse and asked for a modification of the father's visiting rights so that they could be exercised under supervision. Because she wants to protect C. at all costs. She is not heard by the justice.
And, under pressure from the police, she has to resign herself, with a heavy heart, to leave her daughter with her father every weekend. Before he comes to pick her up, C. throws herself to the ground, screaming and sobbing. During the following weeks, the mother and her daughter hid at friends' houses. At the end of December 2001, in despair over the dysfunctions and slowness of the justice system, she heard about the CIDE in Lausanne. A la mi-janvier, elle quitte la France pour la Suisse, avec l’espoir d’être protégée en demandant l’asile. Nouvelle désillusion: sa demande est refusée. «Mais moi, je veux continuer à combattre pour ma mère afin que, si elle meurt, tout le monde sache la vérité», conclut Sébastien.
24Heures, 15th of August 2002
JUSTICE - FRENCH REFUGEE MOTHERS IN SWITZERLAND
Glatz's dual role bothers the hierarchy
The president and founder of the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child is also a civil servant in the Department of Education and Youth. Anne-Catherine Lyon did not like this combination and asked him to choose his side.
"The quality of my work at the SPJ is not in question at all. I have total confidence in Mrs. Lyon", says Georges Glatz.
Georges Glatz, president and founder of the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child (CIDE), is a key figure when it comes to the issue of French mothers who are refugees in Switzerland. It is thanks to the
presence in Lausanne of this organization means that women who flee their country to keep their children away from their ex-spouses (whom they suspect of being pedophiles), choose the Confederation. What is not to the liking of the Vaud authorities is that Georges Glatz is, at the same time, an official of the Department of Education and Youth of the Canton of Vaud (DFJ). He is also a member of the Grand Council. State Councillor Anne-Catherine Lyon therefore called him to a meeting at the end of the month to ask him to choose.
A difficult position
This "double hat" puts him in a difficult position. It is not possible to reconcile the position of president of CIDE, which is very exposed, with that of civil servant at the DFJ, "more concrete and less militant", according to the State Councillor. Georges Glatz understands perfectly well that his committed side disturbs, "but when you are committed to children, you are totally committed", he affirms. Anne-Catherine Lyon is not convinced by this argument, and considers that the choice of her subordinate "cannot be reconciled with the state constraints that come with his status as a civil servant". However, she adds that the discussion remains open. For his part, Georges Glatz does not want to dramatize. He has no doubt that a negotiated solution to the problem will be found: "The quality of my work at the SPJ is not at all in question. I have complete confidence in Ms. Lyon. I am sure that we will reach an agreement. For me, the most important thing is to continue working for the children."
"The first women arrived in our country two years ago at the initiative of Bernard Bertossa, then Attorney General of Geneva. He wanted to show Swiss and French families a CD-ROM containing pedophile images," recalls Anne Giroud, head of the Youth Protection Service (SPJ). The aim was to allow them to identify their children. This approach had been refused by the French justice system. "It was in this context that they met Georges Glatz who had provided the CD-ROM to the police. They decided to take refuge in Switzerland. At the beginning, Mr. Glatz hosted them with friends of his and with militants of his organization. But they were soon overwhelmed by the number of women arriving with their children. So he started writing to many people to find solutions," she continues.
The canton of Vaud set up a working group. The SPJ intervened and asked the women to come forward. It released a one-time financial aid. The idea was that they would leave. The justice of the peace also appointed a curator to defend the interests of the children. So far, about ten cases have been reported to the SPJ. But the associations that defend them estimate that there are currently more than twenty mothers in Switzerland.
24Heures, 18th of August 2002
PEDOPHILIA - FRENCH MOTHERS TAKE REFUGE IN THE CANTON OF VAUD
Accused father testifies
Since 1999, François* has found the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child in his path. After having collected the testimony of a mother (our edition of February 2, 2002), 24 heures found one of the men involved.
Late Friday afternoon, July 5, the Swiss Telegraphic Agency (ATS) announced: "A French mother fled to the canton of Vaud last March, convinced that her five-year-old daughter was being sexually abused by her father. Imprisoned at the request of France, she is on hunger strike." Friday, July 12, still in the late afternoon, the ATS writes: "Two mothers have taken refuge in Lausanne to protect their three children from their ex-spouses whom they suspect of sexual abuse." President of the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child (CIDE), the deputy Georges Glatz, declares in the dispatch that the canton of Vaud now welcomes seven French mothers and their children, that for three years the CIDE has dealt with twenty-four similar cases.
Each time, the mothers, welcomed by the CIDE, report the testimonies of their offspring: meetings of adults in disguise, killing of babies, rapes, hunting of children (24 hours of February 2). Each time, these words make one shudder. Each time, the point of view of the accused father is obscured.
Lausanne 2002: a father's word
François*, 41 years old, living in the West of France, will not see his children, Pierre* and Marie*, again any time soon. Indeed, on April 23, a president of the Civil Court of the district of Lausanne, has - for the overriding interest of the two children - suspended the visiting rights of the father. Georges Glatz was present at the hearing. He only spoke in general terms about the activities of CIDE. "He did not speak about us. I had the impression that he was making a catalog of these activities, that he was selling his soup. The father of Pierre and Marie knows that time is against him. The Vaud court has suspended his visiting rights, which have never been respected for years. "The more time passes, the less my children will want to see me, the more the courts will respect their choice", sadly analyzes the divorced father. It has been eight years since he last saw them. It was the first time that the two men crossed paths, but not the first time that the CIDE burst into François' life.
It was Janine*, the mother of the two children, who now lives in the canton of Vaud, who appealed to the Lausanne-based organization. In 1994, the couple separated. Two years later, Marie (now 16 years old) spoke of being touched on the weekends when she returned to her father's house. Nicole filed three complaints. The first two are filed. At the third, the French justice enters in matter. François is arrested, imprisoned and interrogated by the police. Five of his friends were also questioned. The children spoke of several grown-ups and of a sect. François was cleared by a first dismissal of the case, but a second trial was held because his ex-wife appealed. He was cleared a second time. The expert interviewed stated that the children's testimony must be "received with caution... that one must be careful in interpreting the statements; that the girl's description of the places and the cult ceremonial retains a great deal of precision with lush and fantastical aspects in the testimony and in the drawing as found in certain films or comic books." Mary also told the expert that she was at the time drugged and hypnotized.
Paris 1999: witness of the CIDE
The CIDE then entered the game. During the same trial, the testimony of a little girl from the East of France is brought by the mother. The Lausanne association came to her aid. The CIDE presented the photo of the father to the French girl. She recognized him as the man who sexually abused her. The testimony "without judicial guarantee at the initiative of a private organization based in Lausanne" did not convince the judges. François was cleared once again. We don't do this anymore," says Georges Glatz, whose organization is working on its files and continues to follow the father. If he was finished with the French justice system in 1999, the latter was not finished with the accusations that stuck to him, the "abusive father, high priest of a pedophile sect".
At the Consulate General of France in Geneva, François Laumonier, says he is astonished by the testimonies he reads in the French-speaking press but remains confident in the justice system of his country. At the Ministry of Justice in Paris, they are also concerned about the fate of French mothers in the canton of Vaud. As for the testimonies relayed by the Lausanne association, French justice considers "that they do not correspond to proven facts."
*All first names have been changed by the editors.
The right to speak - LIGHTING
It is about giving everyone the opportunity to bear witness.
Since the beginning of the year, the French-speaking press, 24 heures in particular, has given a voice to mothers who take refuge in the canton of Vaud to protect their children from possible sexual abuse by their fathers. The fathers, on the other hand, have never had the right to speak. Who, what, when, where? The protectors of the International Committee for the Dignity of Childhood (CIDE) remain silent for "security reasons".
Since the beginning of the year, reading the French-speaking newspapers, one learns that France would be a lawless country where organized infanticide would take place in general indifference. Judges, lawyers, gendarmes, policemen, journalists, no one cares. As if these serious accusations made by these French mothers who had taken refuge in the Vaud region were nothing but dead letters, nonsense. One would think that the Lausanne newspapers are not read in neighboring France.
Giving the floor to a father accused of raping minors, allowing him to say that he has been exonerated twice by the French justice system, does not in any way taint the children's testimony. To report that the French justice system considers that these declarations are not, in its eyes, proven facts, does not mean that the existence of pedophile networks is denied.
It is just a matter of respecting everyone's right to testify in what was originally a catastrophic divorce where children suffer because of parents who failed to separate.
Ebauches de solution
Places of therapeutic confrontation?
Alerted by the situation of these exiled French mothers, the July issue of Marie Claire magazine devoted an investigation to this subject. The public prosecutor in Nice gives his opinion: "In order to judge this kind of case, we must start by recognizing that the exploitation of children by adults for their own pleasure is a phenomenon that exists. This is why I am in favor of the diffusion of images of pedophile tapes during the trials. We have to stop burying our heads in the sand." Still on the judicial front, the magistrate advocates better cooperation between different countries. In an interview with Le Temps (July 17), Lausanne psychiatrist Gérard Salem called for the creation of interdisciplinary structures - medical, legal, educational - where mothers could have a therapeutic confrontation with their fathers, before arriving at the ultimate solution of exile. "There is one in Paris, one in Milan, one in San Diego, we plan to open one in Switzerland. It's not much".
24Heures, 2sd February 2002 - Vaud
FRENCH MOTHERS HIDE FROM THEIR PEDOPHILE HUSBANDS
SOS Children Martyrs
Appeal to Ruth Metzler: intervene for these women who flee France where their abusive ex-husbands have the right to visit their victims. They are flocking to French-speaking Switzerland.
Refugees in Lausanne, a mother and her son look at France, land of freedom... for abusers.
Fleeing the country of human rights as others flee dictatorships, some fifteen French mothers and one father (!) have recently come to seek refuge in French-speaking Switzerland, more precisely in Vaud and Geneva, in order to protect their sexually abused children.
Parents on the run, so to speak, since they are there in order to escape court decisions that, according to them, put their children in danger, even in danger of death. My son talks about meetings of adults, the killing of babies, masses, bloodshed, improbable disguises, and hunting of children in a forest in France," says Marie*. He recognizes notables, he describes places with precision. I identified him on CD-ROMs of pedophile images. His stories and his drawings are consistent with those of other victims he doesn't know. How do you expect me to respect a justice system that would want
that I give him back to his executioners? I will never let go of my child!"
Marie arrived in Lausanne a few days ago with her little boy. While he is bored in the hotel room watching Pokémon, she joins us in the lobby to tell us about the unthinkable - what her son, not even 10 years old, has suffered for years from his father and his friends, "daddy's doctors", and also the worst trauma, she says, that of not being believed, of not being heard by the justice system: "Every day my son asks me: "Why are they protecting the bad guys?
Sonia Pizel, president of the French collective Sauver l'enfance en danger, accuses: "In France, magistrates are not sufficiently trained in the field of sexual abuse. When it is a parent who denounces another parent, the case is systematically seen from the sordid angle of family conflict. Everything is reversed: a mother who accuses is seen as a madwoman who uses her child to harm her ex and is in turn accused! A doctor who reports cases of abuse is prosecuted and suspended" (see box).
From complaints to dismissals, from dismissals to convictions for non representation of children, from civil courts to criminal courts: it is not by chance that these mothers land in Lausanne or Geneva as if they were in a welcoming land.
In Lausanne, they come knocking on the door of the International Committee for the Dignity of Children (CIDE), chaired by the Vaud deputy and delegate for the prevention of abuse Georges Glatz, who has been working for ten years hand in hand with other French NGOs specializing in abuse. Geneva, for its part, has a reputation for being a courageous canton in the fight against pedophilia, following the exemplary action of the Attorney General Bernard Bertossa, who allowed parents of abused or missing children to consult the CD-ROMs of pedophile images in the hands of the justice system.
The problem is that Georges Glatz is overwhelmed, as he has already declared on the French-speaking radio (see our edition of January 26): "CIDE," he reminds us, "specializes more in investigation and advice than in humanitarian aid. My means are limited (Editor's note: CIDE operates without any subsidy). I am urgently looking for housing for these families.
Since last Wednesday, when TF1 broadcast an eight-minute report on the subject at the end of the 8 o'clock news, the CIDE's phone has been ringing off the hook. So much so that yesterday afternoon, overwhelmed by these delicate situations and worried about the possibility of things getting out of hand, Georges Glatz sent a letter to Federal Councillor Ruth Metzler (with a copy to the French Minister of Justice Marylise Lebranchu) asking, in substance, that the federal authorities take up the problem. "If it were only a matter of two or three cases, we could talk about miscellaneous events, but here we are dealing with a societal phenomenon. This goes far beyond my competence", says Georges Glatz.
Are the dysfunctions of the French judicial and social system reported by these mothers really so dramatic? Miguel Grattirola, known outside France for having denounced the failings of the judicial system in Nice in the case of Karim Kamal (the first Frenchman to be granted political asylum in the United States), has a way with words: "In France, we protect cookies better than we protect children," he says ironically. The proof? We put surveillance cameras in supermarkets, but we don't have anything in police stations to record the stories of child victims of pedophilia. In France, if you are a truck driver, you have a medical check-up every five years, but if you are a family court judge, nobody will ever ask you if you have a sexual attraction for children. It's a reality: there are currently people who judge their fellow man all day long and watch pedophile tapes at night."
* Fictitious first name
EXPRESS INTERVIEW of psychiatrist Gérard Salem, president of the Commission vaudoise de prévention des mauvais traitements (CCMT).
- At the request of the CIDE, you were asked to examine as an expert some of these mothers who flee from the French justice system to protect their children who are victims of sexual abuse. Are they reliable?
- The majority of them are quite credible. I was amazed, when I studied the files, to see that medical certificates in due form could be swept aside by judges, while some botched expert reports limited to one or two consultations were taken into consideration. It seems to me that some French courts are a bit hasty in their conclusions.
- This does not happen in Switzerland?
- In French-speaking Switzerland, particularly in Vaud and Geneva, the work of the police and the judges is remarkable. As soon as there is a doubt, we investigate further, we ask for another expertise.
- What is a serious expertise?
- It takes about ten consultations to evaluate the child and, if possible, both parents, and then to do confrontations - which is essential in this field! The interaction between the child and his or her mother or father, the gestures, the looks exchanged, all these non-verbal behaviours teach us a lot when we are specialized in systemics. However, there are very delicate expertises, in which certainty is never acquired. In these cases, I do not hesitate to ask for the opinion of a colleague.
- Do these children who have been broken by sexual abuse, and then broken again by the non-recognition of what they have suffered, have a chance to return to a normal life?
- Recognition has a therapeutic power more powerful than any psychotherapy. Until justice recognizes the harm that has been done to them, these children will remain irreparably harmed. This denial is the worst kind of pain. It is an additional trauma for which society as a whole is responsible.
One hundred discredited doctors
MEDICAL CERTIFICATES SOS Papa encourages fathers to file complaints.
"The French justice system does not recognize the child's word, why?" asks, among others, the French collective Parents-Protecteurs. Obviously, the word of the doctors does not carry more weight. To date, about a hundred doctors - pediatricians, child psychiatrists, general practitioners, gynecologists, forensic doctors - have been prosecuted by the French Medical Association for having reported to the courts situations of children they considered to be victims of sexual abuse and for having drawn up certificates of presumed sexual assault on children. This is surprising at a time when French TV channels are broadcasting (electioneering?) spots asking each citizen to do his duty by reporting cases of abuse. Among these doctors dragged through the mud, the child psychiatrist Catherine Bonnet learned yesterday with relief that the National Council cancelled the two practice bans that were still hanging over her head. Dr. Bonnet blames this shower of complaints on the association SOS Papa which, among other "practical advice to divorced fathers", gave them in 1997 the one to complain in case they would feel wronged by a medical certificate, by indicating them the procedure to follow. "There is a powerful counter-current in France, supported by authors like Bernard Fillaire, which denounces the pain of fathers and warns society against hysterical mothers who use the suspicion of incest as a weapon in the divorce. This current is very useful to protect notables and to hide the existence of pedophile networks."
24 Heures, 2 février 2002
EDITORIAL AND REFLECTIONS - OPINIONS
Abused children are our children
Editorial by Jean Ellgass
Everyone, or almost everyone, agrees: pedophilia is a filthy thing, and those who practice it are dangerous people who must be neutralized at all costs. To achieve this, the fight must be merciless, without procrastination. We repeat over and over again, it calls for the mobilization of all the actors of civil society, citizens or politicians, judges or doctors, priests or police officers. And everywhere. So, question: is it acceptable that foreign mothers and fathers go underground with their children in Switzerland to put them beyond the reach of their torturers?
Their country of origin is not a banana republic, it is France. The country of human rights. The legal proceedings against the abusive parents turned to their advantage: the justice confirmed them in their parental rights. The instructions revealed the horror, the reports of the pediatricians, psychiatrists and police officers pointed out the worst, but it was enough of some blunders to reverse the steam. Here are these mothers and fathers suspected of manipulating their children against their exes in sordid divorces, the doctors sued by the Council of the Order for having done their duty: alerting the authorities because the life of a kid was in danger...
This is happening in France, but it is Switzerland that is being called upon. At the head of the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child (ICDC) in Lausanne, Georges Glatz is now appealing to Federal Councillor Ruth Metzler: overburdened, the ICDC is overwhelmed by calls from new candidates for clandestine residence. What will our country do? Will it follow certain French judges on the path of non-assistance to persons in danger? Or will it dare to take action, by solemnly challenging France? Lurking in hotel rooms, little victims are waiting.
Le Temps, Thursday 6th of July 2002
Incarcerated for denying father access
A French mother takes refuge in Switzerland
A French mother fled to the canton of Vaud last March, convinced that her 5-year-old daughter was being sexually abused by her father. Imprisoned in Lonay at the request of France, she has been on hunger strike since June 11.
"She is putting her health in danger," said Georges Glatz, president of the International Committee for the Dignity of the Child (ICDC), on Friday morning. In the afternoon, the young woman's lawyer, Anne-Louise Gillièron, learned of the immediate transfer of her client, following a suicide attempt, to the Lille Hospital in Bern.
Like many other women who have come from France for the same reason, the young mother has been placed under the protection of the CIDE. Anne-Louise Gillièron asked for provisional freedom for her client, but in vain: "We therefore appealed to the Federal Court. Suspecting the sexual abuse of her little daughter for three years, this French woman filed a complaint in her country. Because she did not have enough money to post bail, the investigation never got off the ground, explains the lawyer. The young woman came to Switzerland to avoid leaving the child with the father, and chose to register as a refugee, filing an asylum application. In her absence, she was sentenced in France to one year in prison for having withdrawn her daughter from the visiting rights of her ex-spouse.
L’Illustré, 3rd of July 2002
THROWN BACK INTO THE LION'S DEN
Exhausted by the indifference of their country's justice system in the face of the scourge of pedophilia, dozens of French mothers now live in Switzerland with their children. If many of them have chosen to go underground, Patricia had filed an asylum application for herself and her son fourteen months ago. She is the first to be deported. Sacrificed on the altar of diplomacy, she has only ten days left to pack her bags.
Request for asylum rejected. The verdict is cold, implacable. The Federal Office for Refugees refused to protect Patricia and her son, who had arrived in Switzerland on May 11, 2001, any longer. The reason: they do not fit the profile of refugees. Indeed, only people who are exposed to serious prejudice because of their race, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions can be granted asylum. The canton of Neuchâtel, where Patricia lives, will have to send them back before July 12. "In fact, if we came from a country in the grip of a civil war, we could stay!" Patricia insists before bursting into tears, exhausted.
Patricia, a French woman, left her country to protect her child. Her son Benoît* was 4 years old when he first confided in a doctor about being sexually abused by his father, a businessman who was a freemason and had a valuable network of friends in high places. The rest of the story resembles that of dozens of French mothers who have arrived in Switzerland in recent years: a stormy divorce followed by a relentless fight against a system that refuses to listen to them. They tell the story of the disappearing evidence, the thousands of francs paid to lawyers who finally give up, the psychiatrists who say they are crazy, and the flight. Today, Patricia accuses the Bordeaux justice system in particular and the French government in general of passive complicity. She is not the only one. In France, journalists, politicians and judges are more and more numerous to denounce the inertia of the authorities in the fight against pedophilia. In Switzerland too. Doris Cohen-Dumani, head of the Lausanne Public Security and Police Department, questions the attitude of our neighbor. On July 14, 2000, Switzerland had invited French mothers to view the Ulrich CD-ROM, which contains 8500 photos of pornographic scenes involving the rape and torture of children, including 475 portraits of identifiable children. On this occasion, some of them had recognized their child. "We drew up minutes of this day and handed them over to the French authorities. How is it that we never got any response?"
Benoît at the public assistance
This is also the question that Patricia asks herself, who had recognized Benoît on several photos. "Why didn't anyone do a morphological analysis? All this was useless. Absolutely nothing!" And to think that the same Switzerland that, at the time, offered her the possibility of proving the abuse of which her son was a victim, is now telling her that she has to get out. I'm not going back there," says Patricia. I know very well what awaits me there. It is true that the State Councillor of Neuchâtel, Bernard Soguel, assures her that the competent courts in France are ready to reopen her case, but Nicolette Rusca, who is responsible in Bern for international child abduction issues, confesses that she cannot promise her that she will not go to prison, nor Benoît to the DDASS. Indeed, Patricia not only lost her divorce, but also the custody of her son for having refused to present him to his father. This should earn her a criminal conviction. "We offered her to leave her child here and go home alone to sort out her affairs, but she refused," says Mr. Soguel. How, without money, without housing, without family, without support, could Patricia regain custody of her son? Few lawyers work pro bono. "Yes, they do. But we always try to put the interests of the child first." Perhaps, but it is clear that, on the other side of the border, nobody is waiting for Benoît. Neither his father nor the rest of his family have made any attempt to meet him. Planted in the middle of the kitchen, Patricia relights a cigarette. Her hands are shaking, she doesn't understand anymore. "They are networks, it must be said! Why was I never really interviewed? Why doesn't Switzerland investigate? "Because it is not our role," replies Dominique Boillat, at the Federal Office for Refugees. But it can go elsewhere in the EU, to Belgium for example..." Basically, even if no one dares to put it this way, Switzerland cannot diplomatically allow itself to question the functioning of the French justice system.
The CIDE is powerless
In the end, Patricia should never have sought asylum in Switzerland. There is nothing in place to protect human beings from this type of persecution. She should have done what many other French mothers do: go underground or register as a job seeker. Referred to the asylum procedure by the CIDE (International Committee for the Dignity of the Child) in Lausanne, she served as an alarm bell. The CIDE, whose role is to rigorously investigate and inform the general public about violations of the dignity of children throughout the world, receives no subsidies from Bern, and donations are rare. When Patricia's expulsion was announced, Georges Glatz, its president, said as if to admit his helplessness: "You'd think they'd looked at her file. Indeed. The same file that, on May 11, had opened the doors of our country to her without anyone telling her that she was on the wrong track. Because France is not a country at war. There is a fight that she should lead, but she doesn't really seem to be determined to do so.
- c. p. ï * Fictitious first name taken from the article of the Illustrated n°27 of July 3, 2002
Photo CIDE with Interpol, Paris Match, 29th of May 1997