BONN (Aug. 26)
The founder of a chemical firm that sent Libya the material and technology to manufacture poison gas has refused to testify at the trial of three former executives charged with complicity in the illegal enterprise.
Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, founder and former manager of Imhausen Chemie A.G., is serving a five-year prison term in Mannheim for his role in equipping a plant at Rabta, Libya, to produce chemical weapons.
The three former Imhausen executives are currently on trial in Mannheim.
A fourth, Hans-Joachim Renner, was arrested on Aug. 20 and is scheduled to testify on Wednesday.
The judges acknowledged that Imhausen could incriminate himself if he took the witness stand.
Although he pleaded guilty in June 1990 to evading the export laws of what was then West Germany, he still faces proceedings over his alleged role in building a second chemical plant in Libya and misusing research grants made available by the Bonn government.
Imhausen never admitted supplying substances for the manufacture of poison gas.
Renner, who has agreed to testify at the trial of his former colleagues, will go on trial himself later this year.
The prosecution said he will be charged with knowingly supplying Libya with facilities, material and know-how to produce chemical weapons.
His actions, according to the prosecution, flouted the Research Ministry in Bonn, the tax authorities and the government office responsible for keeping tabs on German exports.