Canadian to head Libyan-Swiss tribunal

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Libya on Tuesday announced the nomination of Canada's Philippe Kirsch, a former president of the International Criminal Court, to head a tribunal to arbitrate a diplomatic dispute with Switzerland.

"The representatives of the Great Jamahiriya and Switzerland, after consulting the (designated) judges of both parties, agreed on the nomination of Canadian expert in international law Philippe Kirsch to preside over the tribunal," a foreign ministry statement said.

Relations between Bern and Tripoli were deeply strained after the July 2008 arrest of a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, Hannibal, in Geneva.

Hannibal was later released, but the move sparked a series of reprisals from Tripoli. Two Swiss citizens were blocked from leaving Libyan territory until last year.

The tribunal, which will sit in Berlin, will focus on the circumstances of Hannibal's arrest.

In addition to Kirsch, also sitting on the three-judge tribunal will be India's Sreenivasa Pammaraju Rao, nominated by Libya, and Britain's Elizabeth Wilmshurst, designated by Switzerland.

The creation of the tribunal aimed at settling the two countries' differences was decided by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and her Libyan counterpart Mussa Kussa at a meeting in Madrid in June last year.

© 2011 AFP

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