Treat Gaddafi’s Son With Dignity – African Court
Arusha — THE Arusha-based African Court of Human and People’s Rights ordered the government of Libya to treat with respect the son of the former country’s president, the late Muammar Gaddafi. The court issued an order for provisional measures in respect of Application No. 002/2013:
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights versus Libya. The matter alleges violations of the rights of Mr Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is detained in Zintan military camp, in Libya.
In its order, the Court asked the Government of Libya to preserve the integrity of the person of the detainee, refrain from all measures that would harm his life, and allow him access to a Lawyer of his choice, allow him visits from family members and friends, and guarantee his rights to have a free and fair trial.
The order also enjoins the Government of Libya to report on execution of the measures within 15 days from the receipt of the order. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is the second son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. With the death of Muammar Gaddafi and his first son Mutassim Gaddafi in Sirte on October 20, 2011, Saif al-Islam was the only member of the Gaddafi family left in Libya.
On November 19, 2011, as Saif al-Islam Gadhafi was trying to flee from Libya, he was captured and detained in southern Libya. Saif was taken to Zintan by plane and, pending trial, he is kept in detention by the Zintan-militia that captured him. It was announced that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s trial will take place in Zintan, Libya.
However, the trial was then delayed. It is now expected to take place in May 2013. For the first time since his capture, Saif al-Islam appeared in court in the western town of Zintan on January 17, 2013. He will face charges related to the indictment made by International Criminal Court (ICC).
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights had delivered judgment and issued two orders for provisional measures in Arusha at the end of last week.
The judgment was in respect of Application 014/2001: Atabong Denis Atemnkeng versus The African Union while the Orders were in respect of Application No 006/2012: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights versus The Republic of Kenya and Application No. 002/2013: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights versus Libya, respectively. The matter in Application 014/2001: Atabong Denis Atemnkeng versus The African Union concerns the validity of Article 34 (6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The Applicant in this matter, Mr Atabong Denis Atemnkeng, a national of Cameroon and regular staff member of the African Union Commission, alleges that Article 34 (6) of the Protocol should be declared null and void, as it is contrary to the African Union Constitutive Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as such is an obstruction to justice and the rule of law, promotes impunity, as it excludes sections of African Citizenry from access to justice by placing human rights abusers above the law.
In response to the allegations of the applicant, the respondent raises a preliminary objection arguing that Mr Atabong Denis Atemnkeng is not entitled to submit cases to the Court in terms of Article 34 (6), and that the African Union is not a State Party to the Protocol and cannot be made to account for treaties adopted, signed and ratified by sovereign States.
The court ruled that it lacks jurisdiction over the case because Mr Atabong Denis Atemnkeng is from a country which has not ratified the Protocol nor made the declaration allowing individual to directly institute cases before the court. Also the African Union cannot be sued before the court because it is not party to the protocol.
On the same day, immediately after the delivery of judgment, the court issued an order in respect of Application No 006/2012: The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights versus The Republic of Kenya, following a Request for provisional measures demanded by the Applicant.
The applicant alleges that the Kenyan Government, through the Kenya Forestry Service, has demanded the Ogiek Community and other settlers of the Mau Forest to move out of the Mau Forest on the grounds that the forest constitutes a reserved water catchment zone, and is in any event part and parcel of government land under Section 4 of the Government Land Act.
In that regard, the applicant requests for imposition of provisional measures to stop the government from evicting the Ogiek community and other settlers of the Mau Forest following a 30 days eviction notice issued by the Government of Kenya in October 2009 and related statements made by some Kenyan political authorities.
The applicant submits that the eviction would have far reaching implications on the political, social and economic survival of the Ogiek Community, and that it may result in irreparable harm to the victims.
The court ordered the Government of Kenya to stop the eviction and distribution of land of the Mau Forest pending the decision of the court on the matter. The order also enjoins the Government of Kenya to report on execution of the measures within 15 days from the receipt of the order.