Gaddafi must face trial: rebel spokesman

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Gaddafi must face trial: rebel spokesman

A Libyan rebel spokesman insisted on Friday that Muammar Gaddafi stand trial at the international war crimes tribunal.

By (AP)

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Published: Fri 22 Jul 2011, 9:58 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:13 PM

However, there is agrowing Western consensus that the longtime dictator be allowed to stay in his homeland if he relinquishes power.

Washington, Paris and Rome have all proclaimed their acceptance of the idea that Gaddafi remain in Libya, on the condition that give up power and the Libyan people grant their approval.

NATO bombing raids and other military operations began this spring to protect civilians rebelling against the Libyan regime, but Gaddafi has managed to keep his grip on the Libyan capital Tripoli, to the frustration of Western leaders.

Asked how the so-called “leave Gaddafi in Libya option” squares with the warrant for his arrest by the International Criminal Court, rebel spokesman Ali al-Issawi told reporters in Rome that there was “no contradiction between the two.”

“The first principle is that Gaddafi should step down,” al-Issawi, a leader of the rebel’s executive office, said after a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. “After that you can talk about the details.”

“We would like Gaddafi to be taken to the ICC,” al-Issawi said, referring to the Hague-based tribunal.

Al-Issawi’s office essentially serves as a Cabinet for the National Transitional Council, the Benghazi-based anti-Gaddafi front that was recently recognized by Washington as Libya’s legitimate government.

Gaddafi, who took power in a 1969 coup, “cannot be forgiven,” al-Issawi insisted, citing the regime’s sponsorship of international terrorism. “His crimes touched the whole world, not just Libya.”

Frattini noted that Libya isn’t among the signatory countries to an agreement obligating arrest for such warrants, and he stressed that while “impunity (for Gaddafi) would be a mistake, it has to be the Libyans to decide” Gaddafi’s fate. Whatever that decision is, “we’ll respect it,” the foreign minister added.

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