Date of Birth: 02/22/1921
Place of birth: Bobangui (Ubangi-Shari)
Source of information:. the book "Dictionary of killers", s.91-95.
Bokassa was born in 1921. CAR was then a French protectorate, and Bokassa 19 years enlisted in the French colonial army. Make a small military career - during World War II soldiers of the 2nd class, then served in Saigon (Vietnam was then a French colony), participated in the fighting against the Vietnamese, was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honor and the Cross.
While Bokassa fought his cousin David Dacko became president of the Central African Republic gained independence. Dako on his head, invited the brothers to return home. He returned in 1960, he was appointed head of the military office (that is to say the General Staff) and quickly went through the ranks in the ladder poluoperettochnoy army of the country - from the officer to Marshal. And becoming a marshal, Bokassa wanted more and once overthrew his cousin in order to take his place. It happened on January 1, 1966. As president, while Bokassa assumed the duties of the Prime Minister, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Information and Chairman of the only permitted in the country of the party "Movement of Social Evolution of Black Africa". (In this capacity, he visited the Soviet Union in 1970 and was adopted by the General Secretary Brezhnev personally, too, who loved to connect all offices in one person.)
But the president of the title gradually ceased to satisfy Bokassa. It sounded somehow not very ... And in 1972, he declared himself president for life, and in 1977, following the example of Napoleon - Emperor. And the crowning arranged - one to one, as in Napoleon, including ritual. Here are just wives Bokassa was greater than that of Bonaparte - as many as 17. However, in a ceremony attended only one, the last - Catherine Sola.
As soon as it`s fun (coronation) treasury impoverished country of 20 million dollars. The crown for the emperor made the Parisian jeweler Claude Bertrand, it was decorated with jewels, is the main property of the state, including a diamond in 58 carat faceted heart-shaped. I nearly went mad with joy, Pierre Cardin, Brice, Bertrand and other suppliers of clothing and other stuff, Bokassa ordered by the court for the celebrations.
7 tons of flowers were delivered by plane from France, 5200 liveries and 600 coats and tuxedos, sewn in Cardin, 25 thousand bottles of Burgundy, 40 thousand bottles of champagne, 10 thousand instruments silverware, etc. Also from Paris came butlers, confectioners, pyrotechnics and musicians - orchestra of 120 people!
The spectacle of the coronation was enchanting as staging directed by famous French decorator Jean-Pierre Dupont.
It`s funny, but at the same time the emperor had a citizenship of another country - as far back as 1958 in Brazzaville decision No.372 Bokassa was recognized as a full-blooded Frenchman.
At the time of anointing of the kingdom already Bokassa was not only a murderer on the throne, but also a man-eater. After the overthrow of his refrigerator found parts of human bodies, and cook the ex-Emperor Philip Lengis said that it under pain of death, forced to cook dishes from human flesh. Once Bokassa ordered the killing of one of his ministers to prepare a meal of it and feed the rest of the ministers. The fact that they are eating, he told them only in the late afternoon.
The journalist, who met the CAR emperor in the late 1970s, describes it this way: "Short, a liquid beard, oil eyes on pretty rumpled extravagances and everyday storms face eater in marshal`s uniform terrible experience did not produce the contrary - he was. rather ridiculous. "
Bokassa rewarded themselves with all sorts of titles, orders and medals, brazenly robbed the treasury, along with his entourage, to buy luxury houses and castles abroad, organized binges, and the country, meanwhile, impoverished and impoverished. Only the support of France and personally its president, Valery Giscard d`Estena allowed the emperor with an army numbering 3000 people so long to rule the country with three million inhabitants.
However, the time has come when desperate people opposed the king-father. First youth rose. 18 January 1979 riots broke out pupils and students protesting against the compulsory wearing of the form, cross-linked in a textile factory owned by the emperor himself. A peaceful march to the city center turned into a riot; military units to suppress it, killed about 150 people.
In April, the situation repeated itself. The unrest spread from schools and universities in the areas of the city and turned into a spontaneous uprising - with the construction of the fence and attack the official residence. And then the soldiers of the Imperial Guard, and military units began the inhumane hunt for children and young people aged 6 to 25 years.
French journalists describe further events as follows: "Hundreds of children are placed in the central prison, located next to the diplomatic quarter, on the banks of the Ubangi, where in the yard of the soldiers trample them underfoot, and then locked in a chamber beside himself with rage, Bokassa spent in jail for two nights. to teach children "a good lesson." After this lesson about a hundred people die in prison. The bodies secretly buried in mass graves or thrown into the river.
But the emperor is "men`s talk" with their children, not only in prison. About thirty children brought in a truck in the courtyard of his palace in Berengo. According to testimonies that gathered journalist Bernard Luba, they were forced to lie on the ground, and drunk Bokassa ordered the driver to drive on the living carpet. The driver refused, and the emperor himself took the wheel. He drove the truck back and forth until the last silent scream. "
Bokassa justified their actions rather cynically. "I - the head of the people of thieves! - He told the lawyers. - To curb them, I have them sometimes poryu. Kto-to die? I agree! But this is ten times less than on the roads of France on the day of Easter. What is the connection? Well also there the following Sunday on the road will be more victims, and I have because of my victims will no longer be the thieves! "
In this situation the rulers of France could not maintain respectable expression and were forced to send military troops in the CAR, but initially tried to persuade the emperor to voluntarily abdicate. But Bokassa angrily threw the envoys Giscard d`Estena: "No one will tell me what I should do I can turn to Russian, they do not help me solve my future Paris!.!"
Waiting when Bokassa pay a visit to Libya, in the night from 20 to 21 September 1979, the French Parachute Division on transport planes landed in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, under the pretext of protecting French citizens. Bokassa was overthrown and replaced by the retired them 13 years ago, David Dacko.
A few years after that Bokassa was looking for a place of residence. For a while he lived in his castle in France near the city of Melun, then he was forced to move to the Republic of Cote d`Ivoire. It was the only country that agreed to give him shelter. A few years later, when the hype has settled, Bokassa returned to France - obviously with the help of his high-ranking French friends, which he actively "fed up", while still emperor. However, Bokassa was not allowed to leave his castle. Meanwhile, ex-Emperor got new friends from the far-right National Front party. Nationalists pushed Bokassa to return home, arguing that he is welcome with open arms - as the French Napoleon, when he escaped from Elba.
October 23, 1986 with five children and his wife Catherine Bokassa came under a false name in Bangui ordinary passenger flight. But instead of crowds of enthusiastic folk ex-Emperor he was waiting for a guard of soldiers. Bokassa was arrested and tried. One his trial (in absentia) previously held. Then, for genocide and cannibalism, he was sentenced to death. Intramural Court confirmed the previous allegations, but the sentence was replaced 20-year hard labor. Then, however, the term was reduced to 10 years, and in August 1993, and did Bokassa was released on freedom. Did this President of the Central African Republic, General Andre Kolingba, who served earlier in his career as a bodyguard Bokassa.
After his release, the ex-emperor reiterated his acting ability. He has appeared on national television screens in a white robe, with a large cross on his chest, saying that is the apostle and is ready to respond to the calls of the people and take care of his needs. Appeals are not followed, although there were those who recalled with nostalgia the kingdom of Bokassa. Yes, he ate people. But people ate at least something ...
Inspired by the support of the common people, Bokassa decided that it is entitled to apply again to the highest authority in the country. But the supreme power did not think so, and in the end, the ex-emperor was expelled from the guest quarters of the presidential palace. Living in Bangui and receiving a pension of French veteran, Bokassa continued to struggle. In the spring of 1996, he filed a petition for amnesty new president Patasse. The amnesty gave him the right to participate in the presidential elections of 1999.
Maybe Bokassa and go up a second time on the throne, but prevented the death. The former emperor died of a heart attack on the night of October 28, 1996.