When The Fate Of ICC Staff Takes Precedence Over The Plight Of Saif Gaddafi
When the fate of ICC staff members takes precedence over that of prisoners currently under ICC jurisdiction, one must question how the international community can permit the continuation of this injustice and inhumanity and not voice any substantial protest.
The case of Saif al Islam Gaddafi has been highly politicized from the outset. The fact that his most basic human rights have been denied and violated has been effectively obfuscated by multiple propaganda efforts. Since Ms. Taylor’s detention there has been no information available pertaining to his status.
Regarding political prisoners, international laws are clear and concise. There is no margin for error or misinterpretation regarding their enactment.
When the International Criminal Court demands the issuance of arrest warrants (based on a UNSC referral), it has a responsibility to ensure that the individuals subject to the warrant are lawfully protected from harm, granted a fair trial and not executed. This is especially critical in Libya, where the present regime is incapable of conducting “fair trials” and the country, mired in a state of utter chaos, is subject to militia rule.
Libya’s initial response to the ICC’s issuance of arrest warrants should have been the decisive end of the matter:
However the ICC persisted:
The ICC have actively participated in violating international laws and norms with regards to the protection and treatment of political prisoners.
ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, stepped beyond professional and ethical boundaries when he entered into secret negotiations with the NTC and the Zintan militia, while denying he was trying to influence the outcome of Saif’s case.
While he was engaged in these secret meetings, it was known that Saif Gaddafi was subjected to torture, denied medical treatment for his injuries, denied legal counsel of his choice, denied access to family and friends he trusts who could act on his behalf to appoint legal counsel. Now he has been denied access to his ICC appointed lawyer, Melinda Taylor.
To their credit, Melinda Taylor and Xavier-Jean Keïta filed a Request to Disqualify the Prosecutor from Participating in the Case Against Saif Al Islam Gaddafi” on 3 May 2012 (ICC-01/11-01/11-133). The request was valid, based on indiscretions committed by the prosecutor during media interviews where he cited alleged “evidence” that he claimed “proved” Saif Gaddafi was guilty of crimes against humanity.
“After Mr Gaddafi’s arrest, the Prosecutor discussed the evidence against and culpability of Mr Gaddafi in front of several media sources. Illustrative statements include the following: At a press conference in Libya in November 2011, the Prosecutor informed the audience that he “collect[ed] information of evidence proving that [...] Saif Al Gaddafi [sic] [...] [was] managing an operation to kill civilians in Libya and [...] persecute people, abducting them, torturing them, [unintelligible] these were the two charges, murder and persecution as a crime against humanity, that the Court took into consideration to issue the arrest warrant”. ^^ On 5 April 2012, he was quoted by the Associated Press as stating “the good thing here is one year ago Saif Gaddafi was threatening people … now he’s arrested and the court is discussing his destiny”.^^ On 19 April 2012, the Prosecutor was reported to have stated that his office had “evidence linking [Mr Gaddafi] to supervising and plarming recruitment of mercenaries to fight the uprising”.”
The appeal was denied.
Quoting Alexander Mezyaev,
“First, there is no real evidence of his (Saif’s) guilt the same way there was no evidence produced in the case against his father (here one can recall the ICC’s approach to the Muammar Gaddafi’s suit, when instead of demanding to investigate the murder of the person who had been brought charges against in the already open case, it was decided to “close it” 7 ). It’s a rather scandalous decision taken by the court that pretends to be “the most just in the world” that “sets the universal justice standards”.
“Secondly, the ICC’s interest is to prevent Seif Gaddafi from getting an international tribune to give evidence against NATO and make public secret mechanisms of Libya’s destruction. Eight out of eighteen judges are citizens of NATO countries, that committed an act of aggression against Libya (besides two more judges from NATO member states “temporary hold their positions till concrete cases are closed”). Thus, NATO controls half of the ICC judges. In the chamber that is responsible for preliminary investigation of the Seif Gaddafi’s case, two out of three judges are citizens of NATO countries (Germany and Belgium). And third at last, the only defence left for Seif al-Islam in case his trial goes to the Court is the information revealing real identity of the new Libyan authorities and their crimes, that would inevitably lead to new arrest warrants by a court that is really independent. So, the fact of transferring the Seif Gaddafi’s trial to the ICC would be a blow against all countries without exclusion whose citizens hold top positions there.”
“Ocampo…“gathered evidence of fault” against Muammar and Seif Gaddafi in a few weeks without going to the place where the alleged crimes were committed. In other cases investigations lasted for years (7 years in the case of Cote d’Ivoire). Now the Ocampo’s statements for the media fully coincide with the position of the Libyan authorities. Ocampo says the Libyan “insurrection” was a result of the crimes committed by the Gaddafi family. Thus he takes the side of criminals himself…Ocampo’s activities prevent the execution of the arrest warrant issued by the court! The situation is unique. An ICC’s prosecutor has deliberately taken the side of the criminals. It’s not the disqualification of Ocampo from the Seif Gaddafi’s case, but rather the disqualification from the ICC prosecutor’s position that we should be in consideration.” (“Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi And The “Behind The Scenes” Fight Over His Fate“)
Ocampo has clearly failed to respect the presumption of innocence and the rights of the defendant.
The prosecutor’s moral lapses, which include numerous other inaccurate, inappropriate, widely publicized media comments and his political collusion with NATO and the NTC, make an impartial trial impossible.
The ICC placed Saif in greater danger when they published the Regisrty-OPCD report.
Again quoting Alexander Mezyaev,
“It’s clear its publication (at least concerning the part of the talk of the ICC delegation with Gaddafi alone) prompts retaliation against S. Gaddafi…The report’s publication can be considered as an attempt to liquidate Seif Gaddafi. The Libyan authorities have prepared an alibi in advance. They constantly importunately repeat that they don’t control the tribes that Seif Gaddafi happened to be in the hands of.
Still, the rumors about lack of control over the Zintan local powers are exaggerated, at least concerning Seif al-Islam.
It was no other but a prosecutor from Tripoli who was present at the time during the meeting between S. Gaddafi and the ICC delegation.” (“Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi And The “Behind The Scenes” Fight Over His Fate“)
Now, instead of taking action to ensure fair trials and humane treatment for political prisoners under their jurisdiction, the ICC are exclusively fixated on distracting public attention away from their misdeeds through the Melinda Taylor scandal.
If the United Nations and the International Criminal Court wanted Ms. Taylor and her colleagues free, they would be free.
Alexander Mezyaev has given the best summation to date on the covert battle taking place over the fate of Saif Gaddafi.
“The legal proceedings against Seif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, have developed into an unusual situation, that has had no precedents in the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) history. …Two forces have clashed. One is trying at any price to close the case of Gaddafi, the other opposes these activities.…” (emphasis mine)
Considering the events and conduct of the various players, it is clear which group are attempting to ensure that the rule of law and due process is upheld and which group are serving other interests.
While the battle ensues and it is clear that a fair trial will not take place, I call upon the international community of activists to mobilize and demand Saif al Islam Gaddafi’s immediate release and exoneration from all bogus charges. As I have always stated, this case is strictly motivated by political revenge. Saif has not committed any crime.
For further details about his case please refer to this file:
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