Ex-war crimes investigator to lead UN probe in Libya
A former UN war crimes investigator will lead a probe into suspected crimes against humanity in Libya, the president of the UN human rights council, Sihasak Phuangketkeow, said Friday.
Egyptian Cherif Bassiouni will be joined by Jordanian lawyer Asma Khader and Canadian Philippe Kirsch, who is a former judge and president of the International Criminal Court.
"I do hope that the mission of inquiry which has been set up will benefit from the cooperation of the country concerned," said Phuangketkeow.
The 47 member UN Human Rights Council unanimously decided last month to set up the investigation into suspected crimes against humanity after Moamer Kadhafi's regime dispatched Libya's army and air force to fire on civilians.
Phuangketkeow said he had not yet contacted the Libyan authorities to seek permission for the team to enter Libya.
"But now that the commission has been set up I will have to contact the authorities in Libya to ask for their cooperation to assist the task for the commission," he said.
The Thai ambassador estimated that "everything will be in place hopefully by two weeks."
Bassiouni chaired the UN Security Council's commission to investigate war crimes in the former Yugoslavia in 1992 - 1994, and was also an UN expert on the situation in Afghanistan.
Kirsch, who served as a judge at the ICC from 2003 to 2009, was recently named as the head of a tribunal to arbitrate a diplomatic dispute between Libya and Switzerland.
Khader, meanwhile, is a lawyer by training and a human rights advocate.
Asked if the mission could be used by Moamer Kadhafi's regime as a propaganda tool to demonstrate that all is well in Libya, Phuangketkeow said: "I don't think so."
"If you look at the people that I have appointed, they are people with solid reputation, very qualified, very objective... so I have no worry in that regard."
© 2011 AFP