Gaddafi regime ordered to appear before Africa’s highest court
African court on human and peoples’ rights accuses regime of killing peaceful demonst
Gaddafi’s regime has been ordered to appear before Africa’s highest court to face charges of “massive violations of human rights” for killing peaceful demonstrators in the early days of the uprising.
The announcement from the African court on human and peoples’ rights in Arusha, Tanzania, is likely to be welcomed by the Nato coalition as a significant sign of international support.
The “order for provisional measures” issued by the court unanimously declares that the “government of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” must immediately refrain from any action that would result in loss of life or breach human rights. It also summons the Tripoli regime to appear before the court within 15 days to explain what measures have been taken to implement the order.
The African court on human and peoples’ rights is the continent’s equivalent of the European court of human rights. The legal action has been initiated by another continental body, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Court documents state that the commission has received “successive complaints against Libya“. Peaceful demonstrations in the Libyan cities of Benghazi, al-Baida, Ajdabiya, Zawiya and Derna were “violently suppressed by security forces” who “opened fire at random” on 19 February, the commission alleges.
It also accuses Gaddafi’s forces of “excessive use of heavy weapons and machine guns against the population, including targeted aerial bombing”, which amount to “serious violations” of the right to life, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
The indictment refers to other international condemnations, including the initial UN security council resolution on 26 February that criticised the regime for violation of human rights and the Arab League’s call for an end to violence. The order is signed by 12 judges, including the court’s president and vice-president.