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Monday, February 6, 2023

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan steps down from Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi case

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, has informed the UN Security Council that he has withdrawn from the case of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, which has been before the court since 2011; This is to ensure the availability of neutrality.

Prior to assuming his current position, British lawyer Khan worked as a special advisor to Saif al-Islam, 49, who is still being asked by the Libyan authorities to extradite him for trial on charges of “crimes against humanity”.

And during a session of the Security Council on Tuesday, Khan, in his testimony to the members of the Council (15 countries), said that “my moral responsibilities, under Article 42/6 of the Rome Statute of the Court, make me relinquish any cases in which it may appear There is a lack of impartiality, specifically the issue of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.”

The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is demanding the extradition of Saif al-Islam, 49, on charges of “crimes against humanity” during protests in 2011 that toppled the regime of his father, the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (1969-2011).

“Now this case is being taken up by my deputy, Mr. James Stewart, and for my part I will never look into its course,” Karim Khan said, in his first testimony since the United Nations General Assembly elected him last February.

Days after the outbreak of protests in Libya, the Security Council, on February 26, 2011, adopted Resolution 1970, giving the court a mandate to consider crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide committed in the country since February 15 of that year.

Indeed, the court issued arrest warrants against a number of pillars of the Gaddafi regime, including his son Saif al-Islam, who the Electoral Commission announced last week that it had received his candidacy papers for presidential elections scheduled for December 24, which was met with widespread rejection in the country.

“Referring the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court is a priority for my office, which will independently review the evidence without politicization and without succumbing to any dictates,” Karim Khan added.

He revealed that he intends to “go to Libya early next year when conditions in this country permit.”

And he added: “We are looking into the file of mass graves in Tarhuna (south of the capital, Tripoli), as well as allegations of physical abuse in detention centers and immigration detention centers.”

And he added, “I ask the Libyan authorities to communicate with us and help us stop the suffering and the crimes committed, which we are all well aware of.”

Since June 2020, 89 mass and individual graves have been discovered in Tarhuna, and the number of exhumed bodies is 243, according to the Public Authority for Search and Identification of Missing Persons (official).

Last March, the authority announced that the number of missing persons registered with it had reached 3,650 from different cities, including 350 missing from Tarhuna.

Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Founding Editor of The Eastern Herald, Political & Foreign Relations Strategist.

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