The family of deceased Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi reportedly plans to file a war-crimes complaint against NATO for the role they believe the international military alliance played in the former leader’s death, a lawyer for the family told Agence France-Presse news service.
Marcel Ceccaldi, a French lawyer who previously worked for Kadafi's regime and now represents his family, told AFP on Wednesday that the complaint would be filed with the International Criminal Court in the Hague because the family believes a NATO strike on Kadafi’s convoy led directly to his death.
Kadafi, who ruled Libya for more than four decades, was captured alive by revolutionary fighters on Thursday in his hometown of Surt, ending an eight-month war that cost more than 30,000 lives. The circumstances of his death remain unclear.
Libyan authorities have said he likely died in crossfire. Others, including the international rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, believe Kadafi was executed. But Kadafi’s family is convinced that he died as a result of NATO aircraft firing on his convoy as it fled Surt, Ceccaldi told AFP.
"The willful killing [of someone protected by the Geneva Convention] is defined as a war crime by Article 8 of the ICC's Rome Statute," the news agency quoted Ceccaldi as saying. "Kadafi's homicide shows that the goal of [NATO] member states was not to protect civilians but to overthrow the regime.”
It was unclear when the complaint would be filed, but Ceccaldi said the lawsuit would target NATO executive bodies and leaders of the alliance’s member states.
In June, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Kadafi, his son and onetime heir apparent Seif Islam Kadafi, and Abdullah Sanoussi, the regime's former security chief, for murder and other crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the regime's crackdown on protesters this year.
On Tuesday, media reports indicated that Seif was trying to escape to neighboring Niger, where Sanoussi had reportedly already fled.
-- Ann M. Simmons in Los Angeles
Photo: Moammar Kadafi, center, leans on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, left, and then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at a summit last year in Surt, Kadafi's hometown. Credit: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters