Envoy accuses Gaddafi of genocide

2011-02-21 23:04

New York - Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations on Monday called for Muammar Gaddafi to stand down, accusing him of "genocide" and saying he should stand trial for war crimes.

"He has to leave as soon as possible. He has to stop killing the Libyan people," Ibrahim Dabbashi told CNN and other hastily convened media at the United Nations in New York.

"The Libyan people have been patient enough for the last 42 years and I think he has to give up and he has to leave the country as soon as possible," Dabbashi said.

In an interview with BBC World, the deputy ambassador added: "I think it is the end of Colonel Gaddafi, it is a matter of days, whether he steps down or the Libyan people will get rid of him anyway.

"Certainly the best scenario is to have him before the court, to prosecute him and to know from him everything about the crimes he committed before, whether it is the genocide of the prison of Abu Saleem or the genocide he is committing now or the disappearance of certain important personalities... and all the other crimes he has committed during the 42 years in power."

Libyan mission staff at the UN had written a letter calling on Gaddafi to stand down, Dabbashi told The New York Times.

It was not known if Libya's UN ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgham was among the dissenters. Dabbashi said he had not seen the ambassador since Friday and did not know whether he shared the opinion of many in his mission.

Declaration of war

"I call on all countries of the world also to not permit Gaddafi to escape inside their territories and I call on them to watch carefully any amount of money which may be flown outside of Libya," he said.

"After we have seen what has [been] happening in Libya and after the kind of declaration of war against the Libyan people which has been declared by the son of Gaddafi yesterday, we find it is impossible to stay silent and we have to transfer the voice of the Libyan people to the world."

Adam Tarbah, a third secretary at the UN mission, told The Los Angeles Times the diplomats made the decision "because of the regime's despicable actions to attack the Libyan people".

"We are aware that this will put our families back home in danger, but they are in danger anyway," Tarbah said.

Tarbah and Dabbashi referred to a speech made on Sunday by Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, who vowed to "fight to the last bullet".

"He was inciting civil war," Tarbah said. "It was shameful".

Libyan diplomats at several embassies around the world have announced they are breaking with Gaddafi.

Meanwhile Libyan state television said security forces were battling "dens of terrorists" in a sweep that has killed a number of people, without specifying where this was or who was being targeted.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
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