Conflict & Justice

Gaddafi's daughter files "war crimes" lawsuit related to NATO air strike that killed relatives


A picture shows a destroyed building at the Bab Al-Aziziya district where veteran leader Moamer Kadhafi has his base, in Tripoli on June 7, 2011 as NATO warplanes pounded the Libyan capital.


Imed Lamloum

Lawyers for Muammar Gaddafi's daughter filed suits on Tuesday in Paris and Brussels over the alleged assassination in late April of four of the Libyan leader's relatives, claiming that war crimes were committed by NATO, according to the Associated Press.

Attorneys for Aisha al-Gaddafi said that the complaint centers on recent bombing raids in Libya by the Brussels-based military alliance and on France's role in those attacks.

Prosecutors said that officials were assessing whether the case could be admitted, a process that could take weeks.

The complaint relates to an April 30 NATO raid on Tripoli, which Libyan officials said killed the Libyan leader's youngest son and three grandchildren, AFP reported. According to the officials, the home of 29-year-old Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was hit by a NATO air strike, allegedly killing the son and the grandchildren, all three reportedly under the age of 12. One of the children was reportedly Aisha Gaddafi's four-month-old daughter. The Libyan leader and his wife, who were reported to be visiting the house, narrowly escaped.

Dominique Atdjian, one of three French attorneys involved in the filings, said the Brussels suit accused NATO of alleged "war crimes," according to the Associated Press. An official at the state prosecutor's office in Brussels said that the complaint appears to target the Atlantic military alliance, which is based in the Belgian capital.

According to AFP:

“The decision by NATO to target a civilian home in Tripoli constitutes a war crime,” said Luc Brossollet, one of Aisha Gaddafi’s lawyers.

Aisha Gaddafi argues that the coalition forces that carried out the attack are guilty of "war crimes" because the air strike was aimed at a civilian target, a private residence in Tripoli where members of the Libyan leader's family were living, the Guardian said.

She has demanded that investigators "discover, identify and punish those responsible for the murders and their accomplices." Aisha Gaddafi is an attorney and was part of the defense team of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, according to Agenzia Giornalistica Italia.

There have been conflicting accounts about whether Gaddafi's relatives died in the air strike.