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Monday, 09/20/2010

Gaddafi’s son supports prosecuting Sudan’s Bashir for Darfur war crimes: report

Thursday 12 August 2010  
August 11, 2010 (WASHINGTON) — A Libyan human right group headed by the son of Muammar Gaddafi has issued a statement last week calling for prosecuting perpetrators of war crimes in Darfur "irrespective of their positions" in what appears to be a subtle reference to the indictment of Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera website said that the statement by the Arab Alliance For Democracy, Development and Human Rights (ADDHR) coincided with a visit made by Bashir to Tripoli last Wednesday for talks with his Libyan counterpart.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide during Darfur’s seven-year conflict
"The Arab Alliance For Democracy, Development and Human Rights continues to monitor and follow the grave humanitarian situation in Darfur and the resulting suffering and serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity," said a statement by the group on their website.
"The continuation of humanitarian violations against the citizens of Darfur and subjecting them to the suffering, killing and displacement is a serious situation that requires condemnation and working to stop it,".
"[The world] cannot continue to turn a blind eye to crimes committed against innocent people in Darfur by parties to the conflict [including] government and rebel factions. [The world] cannot continue to postpone the realization of justice and offering compliments to offenders irrespective of their positions. This requires all states, governments, organizations and human rights activists to show solidarity with this humanitarian issue and not siding with the devil’s advocates so that each party faces the results of their own actions," the statements reads.
ADDHR also underscored its position regarding selective justice and stressed that all suspects should be prosecuted. "There is no party that is immune [from prosecution] or above the law mo matter what his title is" ADDHR said.
The statement is a rare one coming from an Arab group. Many Arabs say that the West is more willing to put their leaders to trial than those perpetrators of crimes in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza.
Relations between Sudan and Libya have been strained over the latter’s hosting of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim who took arms against the Sudanese government in 2003 accusing Khartoum of leaving their region marginalized and underdeveloped.
Khartoum has persistently demanded that Libya expel Ibrahim or hand him over to face charges over his role in leading a failed attempt to take over the Sudanese capital more than two years ago. However, Libyan officials made remarks saying they cannot heed to Sudan’s request but vowed to limit Ibrahim’s movements and prevent him from making political statements or issuing orders to his forces.
Last month, Sudan closed its borders with Libya protect travellers from "rebels and outlaws". Libya said it understood the decision, given the upheaval in Darfur.
Al-Jazeera website interviewed the managing director of ADDHR, Ali Saeed Al-Borgothi who denied that the Libyan government has anything to do with the statement. He noted however, that Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, who is the head of the group, is convinced that justice should not be circumvented whether the suspects are individuals or regimes stressing that ADDHR has nothing to do with political calculations.
But a number of Libyan analysts surveyed by the pan-Arab TV said that the statement is an expression of Tripoli’s unofficial position.
"The party [Bashir] who is addressed by this statement knows who is the chief of these organizations and takes them seriously," political analyst Mohamed Mammi said.
"The statement is a heavy-calibre message targeting president Bashir personally when we talk about the timing of publishing it in the media," he added.
Mammi further said that no one can deny ADDHR’s links with the Libyan government and the financial support it receives from it suggesting that it conveys Tripoli’s unofficial position.
"Bashir is wanted for arrest in many countries, and up till last week he was moving freely in the African and Arab countries, but such statements may limit his travel to certain areas, and I do not rule out that Libya or any other country may arrest him" the political analyst said.
Chad, a full ICC member, hosted Bashir last month but did not arrest him, reflecting a rapprochement between the neighbours who had waged a proxy war in Darfur and eastern Chad. The move was seen to be a result of Libyan pressure on Chad to allow Bashir to attend a regional summit hosted by Ndjamena despite the arrest warrant.
Libya has been one of the main lobbyists in the African Union (AU) to adopt resolutions offering immunity to Bashir from prosecution in the continent and condemning the Hague Tribunal.
Ibrahim Al-Maqsabi, a Libyan political researcher, told Al-Jazeera that the statement is part of an "image polishing campaign" for Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi "as a reformist who defends democratic and liberal values and a supporter of international institutions and its decisions".
Al-Maqsabi added that the statement being made by a non-governmental group shifts pressure away from the Libyan government which has been one of Bashir’s main backers but at the same times allows Libya to fully integrate into the international community after years of UN sanctions and being labelled as a pariah state.
On Wednesday, an ICC source in the Hague told Sudan Tribune that its prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has met in 2008 with Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi at the Cinema for Peace international charity-gala held in Berlin.
According to the source, Saif Al-Islam expressed his willingness to support the ICC in the presence of U.S. actress Hilary Swank. The source declined to offer any further details on the conversation between the two men.
The liberal-leaning Saif al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, who took a central role in ending Libya’s stand-off with the West, has the highest profile among Gaddafi’s sons but lacks any official role and Libya experts say he has little support from the army, whose endorsement is seen as vital if he is to hold power from his father who led the country for over 40 years.











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