Tag Archives: Libya

The International Criminal Court V New Libya

Since his capture six days  ago, nearly every politician of repute, as well as so-called “political experts” on middle east affairs, have waded in with an opinion on where Saif Al Islam Gaddafi should stand trial.

Those calling for Saif to stand trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the Hague, point to the fairness of a ICC trial, the appropriateness of the ICC to hold war crimes trials, the current inadequate court system in Libya and the nonrecognition of the death penalty, as key decision factors.

On the other hand, there are those, including the Libyan authorities, who want Saif to stand trial in Libya, under Libyan law, for his alleged crimes against humanity among others.

Whichever way we choose to look at it, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Libya recognises the death penalty. The ICC doesn’t.

According to the Associated Press, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who met with Libyan authorities on Tuesday 22 November, “conceded the Libyans have the authority to try him at home but he wants judges from the Netherlands-based court to be involved.”

But then a more cautious Reuters report quotes Mr. Moreno-Ocampo as saying: “The issue of where the trials will be held has to be resolved through consultations with the court. In the end, the ICC judges will decide. There are legal standards which will have to be adhered to.”

So far, an official decision on where to try Saif Gaddafi has not been reached and it’s anyone’s guess  how long the legal wranglings between the ICC and the Libyan authorities will continue for.  What is, however, plausible is that the longer it takes for both sides to agree modalities, the more precarious Saif’s safety in captivity will become.

Strangely enough, I don’t particularly remember there being so much drama over where to try Saddam Hussein following his own capture in 2003, even though  he  was accused of far more heinous crimes against humanity than Saif ever will.  It was almost as if the West clamored for an Iraq-based trial for Saddam to exterminate him once and for all. Where was the ICC then? Taking a power nap….possibly?

Is A World Of Reason In Our Grasp?

(Wolfer Family) ---------- Cabinet given to Adolf Hitler as a gift.

So much has happened in the world recently that has raised our consciousness  about the need to promote humanity, fairness and universal brotherhood. Many have commented that the recent events in Libya would, hopefully, send loud warnings to other modern dictators to give real power back to the people. But would it really?  Repressive and brutal regimes haven’t only recently become fashionable. The brutal deaths of modern dictators like Hitler,  Idi Amin, and Mussolini didn’t deter the late Colonel Gaddafi and other current despots from marching down the same path of hate and misery.

But there may still be hope.  According to the late great film director and actor, Charlie Chaplin, “the hate of men will pass and dictators die, and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die liberty will never perish. . .”  How truly amazing that these words are as relevant today as when first  delivered by Charlie Chaplin, 71 years ago, in a magnificent speech. The full speech itself, comes from the 1940 film “The Great Dictator,” which is a satire  of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

The video clip below shows Charlie Chaplin’s delivery of the inspirational speech that many have dub the best political speech ever.

Somebody’s Got to Say It: Where Is the Sanctity of Gaddafi’s Body?

I never met him during his lifetime and although I consider myself neither friend nor foe of the man, I find the manner of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s death quite crude and the subsequent handling of his corpse inexplicably inhumane. While I truly believe that those who live by the gun will ultimately die by gun, I also think it is morally wrong to take delight from the demise of a fellow human being.

Understandably, to an extent, all is fair in love and war. But the one million dollar question is this: did Colonel Gaddafi have to die such a brutal death? Given that the odds were heavily stacked against him in the last couple of months, why didn’t he broker a face-saving retreat deal with the necessary stakeholders and then relinquish power?  Many African and Arab counties would have given him and his family political asylum. The fact that he was also a wealthy man would have facilitated things in this regard. But of course, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Dictators, by their very nature tend to work on a flawed sense of perpetual invincibility, forgetting that nothing lasts forever.  We understand from history that more often than not, tyrants lose focus and then gradually become far removed from reality.  Eventually they meet a violent end. Such was the fate of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Sanni Abacha of Nigeria and Idi Amin of Uganda.

Following the pretty gruesome video clips of Colonel Gaddafi’s last moments aired on the various global news networks, there have been calls for an inquiry into the events leading up to Colonel Gaddafi’s death. While these scenes were quite disturbing,  in the grand scheme of recent events in Libya, it is doubtful whether any meaningful benefit would emerge from such an inquiry.

As a mere mortal myself, my main gripe is with the way Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse has been handled by the Libyan authorities. The  main world religions accept that the physical body of a deceased should be handled with dignity and utmost care. Placing Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse in a commercial freezer, with very little to shield his dignity, and allowing Libyan men to view his body and take pictures on their mobile phones is highly inappropriate and in bad taste.  Evidently, there is  no preservation of the sanctity of Colonel Gaddafi’s body. Surely, this runs afoul of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

The Libyan authorities should realise that whatever his crimes during his lifetime, Colonel Gaddafi is no more. His account on earth is now closed and he will answer to his creator for his deeds on earth. That the Libyan authorities chose rather to violate the sanctity of the dead, as an act of revenge, is most sad and inexplicably inhumane.  Even if all the reports of Colonel Gaddafi’s alleged crimes against humanity are true, that still doesn’t justify the Libyan authorities inhumane handling of his body.

In the words of Lady Macbeth, what’s done cannot be undone. Colonel Gaddafi’s life has come full circle.  The fine detail of his deeds on earth will now be relegated to the annals of history.  It is ironic that the young army officer, who led a bloodless Libyan revolution 42 years ago, has now died a brutal death in a bloody revolution.  The circumstances surrounding Colonel Gaddafi’s death are somewhat tragic and many will argue that he brought it upon himself.  But that is a discussions for another day. My bone of contention today is the sanctity of  Colonel Gaddafi’s lifeless body.

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. – ( Martin Luther King Jnr)


Why Is David Cameron Trying Too Hard to Impress ?

In another life and under somewhat different circumstances I probably would like David Cameron. After all, he is good-looking, educated and articulate. But as it stands, there is something rather puzzling about him, and consequentially, I don’t fancy him politically. In my estimate, he just seems to be trying too hard to impress, but the question is who? Could it be other world leaders or even the British public?

Well, if we consider the fact that Cameron never really got a convincing mandate from the British populace at the last general election, maybe we would understand his need to constantly impress and therefore, won’t so much as hold it against him.

When Cameron first took up office, like other Conservative party leaders before him, he set out to shake off the “Thatcherite” shackles and prove that he is very much his own man. One such instance, that springs readily to mind, occurred during Cameron’s  trip to South Africa, where he openly expressed regret at his party’s foreign policy on apartheid under Margaret Thatcher.

I think Cameron is a bit unlucky in that not only does he feel he has to prove that he is not “Thatcher’s boy,” but he also feels the need to impress to make up for his inability to convincingly win the 2008 election.

Okay, Cameron became prime minister at a time when it may not have been a fashionable job. Although he blamed the state of the UK economy on the recklessness of the last Labour government, but surely he is smart enough to understand that the world at large was in a financial meltdown at the time – and still is – not just Britain. And better still, Britain did not cause the global financial crisis, the US banking crisis did.

Fast-forward to the crisis in the Middle East and we have new-kid-on-the-block, Cameron, strutting around making grand remarks about containing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and protecting the ordinary Libyan civilians. You almost get the impression that not only is Cameron ready to personally wrestle Gaddafi to the ground before the enforcement of UN resolution 1973, but that he also fancies himself as a wartime leader, possibly following in the footsteps of the great wartime UK prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Now, I really must touch upon Cameron’s doomed tour of the Middle East earlier on in the crisis. What on earth did he think he was doing with a handful of arms dealers in tow? Could we put this faux pas down to inexperience or is it just another instance of Cameron trying too hard to impress? Is that how other arms-producing countries peddle arms? I guess the real bone of contention here is the sheer hypocrisy of selling arms to regimes that one later criticises for attacking their own citizens.

So while Cameron is busy flexing his muscles and milking the occasion for what it is worth, we Brits find ourselves in a war – officially tagged a conflict – which we could really do without. How we are going to fund this war of questionable objects is clear to all: further excruciating public spending cuts and a couple more pre-election policy U-turns.

Cameron must be feeling self-important following his recent hosting of the London talks on Libya and the defection of Libya’s former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, to the UK. There also is the £650m educational aid he promised to the Pakistani’s during a recent visit to Pakistan. I wonder what strings are attached to this economic aid as it is hard to believe that this is a purely philanthropic gesture.

But let’s wait and see how this eventually pans out for Cameron. On the crisis in the Middle East, he has promised that Libya won’t be another Iraq, and that there will be no deals with Moussa Koussa. Strangely enough, so far, Libya has all the hallmarks of Iraq, with regime change being the notable end game.

Time will tell whether Britain’s involvement in the shifty venture in Libya makes or breaks Cameron’s premiership. Given the manner by which he landed in No.10, some may argue that he has no other option but to project himself in this way, to endear himself to the doubting Thomases among us. I wonder what other world leaders think of his recent escapades?  Maybe the end will justify the means. After all, the vulture is a patient bird.

In the interim, maybe Cameron will care to ponder on the following quote of former Philippines president, Corazon Aquino:

“I’ve reached a point in life where it’s no longer necessary to try to impress. If they like me the way I am, that’s good. If they don’t, that’s too bad.”

Exclusive: Saif Gaddafi “wants money back from Sarkozy”

I was hoping to take a break from commenting on events in the Middle East until I watched the recent interview Saif al-Islam Gaddafi gave to Euronews – posted below. During the interview, Saif al-Islam refers to President Sarkozy as a clown and calls for him to return the money spent by the Gaddafi’s on his election campaign.  He says:

“Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”

For completeness, I am no friend or foe of the Gaddafi clan.  Neither do I hold with the propagandist, imperialistic, big brother-ish, neo-slavish and hypocritical tendencies often exhibited by the US and its poodle, the UK. Mine is simply a non-aligned position fueled by the need for justice and equality for all.

Given that the Gaddafi’s are sometimes prone to mixing fact with fiction, one wonders whether there is any credence to this allegation.  Furthermore, as Saif recently commented that the Gaddafi’s are a “modest” family, maybe he would care to enlighten us on how a “modest” family is able to finance an election campaign in France.

If there really is  documentary evidence of the transfer of funds to President Sarkozy, this could open a can worms, which could prove damaging for the French.

For my part, I don’t believe that the London School of Economics, and a few  American performing artists,  are the only ones to have received money from the Gaddafi’s.  However, as the Gaddafi’s clutch at straws for political survival, maybe they will spill the beans on the other big fish on their payroll. After all, what have they got to lose?

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