Exile for Gaddafi is ‘a legal option’

2011-03-29 10:49

Madrid, Spain – Exile for Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi is a legal option because he has not been charged with crimes against humanity, Spain’s foreign minister said in an interview published today.

A London conference of world powers to map out Libya’s future today could discuss the possibility of offering Gaddafi a safe corridor out of the country, according to British press reports.

“It is true that there is no formal accusation or search-and-arrest warrant against Gaddafi,” Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez told Spain’s leading daily, El Pais.

“Therefore, legally, at the moment it would still be feasible,” she said when asked about the possibility of exile.

The International Criminal Court said this month that Gaddafi, three of his sons and other aides were being probed for crimes against humanity arising from the crackdown on Libya’s popular revolt.

Last week, the court’s chief prosecutor said he would seek arrest warrants over crimes against humanity in Libya in the next few weeks.

ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo said his team was probing seven cases in which security forces allegedly shot unarmed civilians in the first 12 days of the uprising.

Spain’s foreign minister said the overthrow of Gaddafi had not been expressly authorized in a UN resolution allowing the use of military force to protect civilians in Libya.

“But it can be deduced when it (the resolution) affirms that the solution to the crisis must respond to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people,” Jimenez added.

She said she agreed with US President Barack Obama that toppling Gaddafi was not a military goal but a political goal.

“All countries should join in this process but the leading role should be taken by the Libyans themselves,” Jimenez said.
The main aim at the London conference is ending the violence, the minister said.

“The priority remains an immediate ceasefire,” she said.

“A ceasefire would re-open room for diplomacy, for mediation which in my view should be led by Arab countries.”

Asked about the possibility of Libya being split in two, Jimenez said maintaining the territorial integrity of Libya was a key goal of the international community.

Spain sent a total of four F-18 fighter jets and a refuelling aircraft to help enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya in an operation now being led by Nato.

It has also deployed an F-100 frigate, an S-74 submarine and a CN-235 maritime surveillance plane to help enforce an arms embargo on Libya. About 500 Spanish troops will eventually be involved in the operation. 

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