MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) – The trial of the sons of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and 37 ex-officials accused of crimes against humanity during the 2011 uprising in the country is grossly unfair to the defendants, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
“This case has been riddled with procedural flaws right from the beginning, which have made it grossly unfair to the defendants. Putting Gaddafi-era officials on trial without fair-trial guarantees shouldn’t leave anyone satisfied that justice is being done,” said Richard Dicker, the director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Dicker added that HRW is concerned about the limited access that defendants have to their lawyers and the evidence against them.
“In cases involving the death penalty, adherence to fair trial standards is more important than ever. In order for Libya to move forward, there needs to be accountability for past crimes. But for Libyans to achieve justice, not revenge, authorities should grant defendants their full due process rights and ensure respect for the rule of law,” he said.
Among the defendants are Muammar Gaddafi’s sons Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, who was extradited from Niger to Libya last month, as well as the country’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi.
Both Saif al-Islam and Sanussi are also implicated in cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity during the suppression of the 2011 uprising. Despite an obligation to extradite Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Libya still has not turned him over to the ICC.
Libyan authorities have failed to guarantee the safety of judicial personnel, witnesses and defendants. According to Human Rights Watch, over the last year there have been numerous reports of threats and physical attacks on lawyers, prosecutors and judges. On February 8, unidentified attackers assassinated Libya’s former general prosecutor, Abdelaziz al-Hasadi, in the eastern city of Derna.
After NATO-assisted Libyan rebels ousted and killed Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for 42 years, his family and members of the former government were hunted by the country’s new authorities.
Apart from the ongoing political crisis and chaotic judicial system, the country is still struggling with restoring peace and security. Libya’s interim prime-minister recently resigned over attacks on his family.