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Swiss: police could be ‘more sensitive’ in Kadhafi case

GENEVA – Switzerland’s Foreign Ministry said authorities acted within international law in the arrest of Moamer Kadhafi’s son, but admitted that police could have acted in a "more sensitive" manner.

Geneva local police "should have applied international practises in a more nuanced and sensitive manner," a spokeswoman from the Foreign Ministry told Swiss newswire ATS on 28 December 2008.

Hannibal Kadhafi and his wife were arrested after two of their domestic staff claimed they had abused them. Hannibal Kadhafi was eventually released and the complaint was dropped.

Bern’s spokeswoman stressed that authorities did not flout international law in the handling of the case.

"The Swiss and Geneva authorities applied the dispositions of the Vienna Convention" on diplomatic relations that were in conformity with international practises, she said.

The case strained relations between Tripoli and Bern, with Libya cancelling deliveries of oil in October, withdrawing an estimated USD 7 billion (CHF 7.6 billion) from Swiss banks, and stopping all areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs on 25 December 2008 also said Tripoli wants not only an apology from Swiss authorities but also the punishment of those who arrested Kadhafi.

"The Swiss authorities in the first days following the arrest already said they are ready to apologise," said Abdulati Ibrahim al-Obidi.

"But what we want first is that justice is done and that the people responsible are punished," Obidi told a news conference in Tripoli.

In a statement distributed at the press conference, the Libyan authorities demanded that the Swiss government recognise that "the treatment meted out to the Libyan diplomat (Hannibal) and his family was unjustified" and against the laws of Switzerland.

[AFP / Expatica]