Melinda Taylor presented a brilliant defense argument on behalf of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al Senussi. She was prevented from completing her statement when she began listing assassinations of people loyal to the former government who would have been valuable witnesses for Saif and other officials presently facing trial.
Among those assassinated are judges and lawyers who are challenging Libya’s lawlessness.
She also described numerous crimes and other murders that were being sanctioned by the state (including the destruction of shrines and mosques) and provided evidence that members of the present regime are actively involved in the commission of these crimes, hence, no investigations or arrests.
All crimes committed against “loyalists”, however brutal, are never investigated and no one is ever punished. She provided substantial evidence of the ongoing torture of political prisoners and related human rights abuses.
She emphasized that there was no working government, no police or any form of law enforcement, not even a coordinated professional military.
Thus witnesses would not be protected and after her experience, no lawyer would take the case unless he was going to ensure the trial went against Saif, as they would be arbitrarily arrested or worse if they did otherwise.
She was able to confirm that Saif’s closest associates and defense witnesses will not go to Libya, as they would be immediately assassinated.
I hope to obtain a complete transcript of her court statements. Not only will it be a valuable record for the case of Saif and Abdullah, but a critical archive of ongoing crimes against loyalists and suspected loyalists.
Viva Libya !
The defence lawyer for Col Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, has told the International Criminal Court its reputation would be harmed by a trial inside Libya.
Melinda Taylor told an ICC public hearing there was no doubt he would be hanged if found guilty.
Libyan officials want Saif Gaddafi, who is accused of war crimes, to face justice in his homeland.
Ms Taylor said such a trial would be motivated by revenge, not justice.
Mr Gaddafi has been held in the mountain town of Zintan since being captured by Zintani rebels almost a year ago.
Libyan authorities have repeatedly refused to hand him over to the ICC for trial in The Hague.
The ICC, based in the Netherlands, is holding its first hearing on the case.
Ms Taylor, who is court-appointed, argued a Libya trial would mean death for her client.
“Although the Libyan government has danced around the issue, let’s be very clear: if convicted Mr Gaddafi will be hanged,” she told the hearing.
“This trial is not motivated by a desire for justice but a desire for revenge, and there is no right to revenge under international law,” she said.
“Mr Gaddafi is not a guinea pig [for Libyan justice]. He is a person with rights. He should not be languishing in prison while Libya tries to build a judicial system.”
At the opening of the hearing on Tuesday, Libyan lawyer Ahmed al-Jehani told the ICC judges that Libyan authorities “needed time” to organise a fair trial for Mr Gaddafi, and that they had not ruled out some level of ICC involvement.
But Ms Taylor suggested that a trial in Libya would be rigged to secure a conviction, and that the ICC risked harming its reputation.
“How can the ICC achieve lasting respect for international law… if it cedes jurisdiction to a domestic court which has been organised to convict rather than achieve justice?