Libya Is Now Insulting Al-Senussi’s Attorney, As Well

by Kevin Jon Heller

Here’s a gem from Libya’s latest submission in its challenge to the admissibility of the case against al-Senussi (emphasis mine):

The Libyan Government observes that there has been a recent increase in filings in this case, no doubt due to the retention of new counsel for Mr Al-Senussi. Libya of course understands that counsel for Mr Al-Senussi will rightly want to explore all avenues of recourse for his client. However, it is hoped that in the future the Defence for Mr Al-Senussi will not file unfounded and repetitive applications before the Court containing serious allegations against the Libyan Government which are premised solely on inaccurate media reports. It is an unfortunate fact that inaccurate media reporting is frequent and inevitable and it is for this reason counsel are encouraged to properly substantiate all future allegations made to the Court, the Security Council, the UN Assistant SecretaryGeneral for Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Yes, you read that right: the Libyan government, which has spent the past year baselessly impugning the integrity of the OPCD, now has the temerity to accuse al-Senussi’s lawyer, Ben Emmerson QC, of filing “unfounded and repetitive” applications with the Court based on unsubstantiated allegations. Ben Emmerson QC, who currently serves as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights and as the British judge on the ICTY’s Residual Mechanism; who has been a special advisor to the ICC Prosecutor and to the judges at the ECCC; and who has literally decades of experience litigating cases at international courts and tribunals.

And what are the unsubstantiated allegations Emmerson has supposedly made on the basis of “inaccurate media reports”? There are only two such allegations mentioned in the motion that so aroused Libya’s ire: (1) that Libya intended to put al-Senussi on trial in a month (para. 2); and (2) that Libya paid Mauritania $200,000,000 to extradite al-Senussi (para. 29). The first allegation did indeed prove to be inaccurate, but Emmerson can hardly be blamed for making it — the news article in question simply quoted Taha Bara, the official spokesperson for Libya’s Prosecutor General, to that effect. If the spokesperson was somehow misquoted, Libya made no attempt to correct the record. As for the second allegation — well, I’ve dealt with the persuasiveness of Libya’s response to that one before. I’ll simply note here that Libya’s response (para. 18) to Emmerson’s “unsubstantiated allegation” relied solely on the unsubstantiated allegation of the former Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, as quoted in a news article.

Pot, meet Kettle.  I’m sure you’ll be fine friends.

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