Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dorda. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Dorda. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday 28 October 2011

Ex-intel chief to Gaddafi wounded, raising more questions about handling of detainees

[This is the headline over a report published yesterday in the Checkpoint Washington section of The Washington Post website.  It reads in part:]

The former intelligence chief to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was seriously injured Tuesday while in the custody of the National Transitional Council, fueling concerns about the treatment of loyalists to the deposed government.

The cause of Abuzed Omar Dorda’s injuries are disputed, but a relative of Dorda, a one-time UN envoy, has appealed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president to intercede with Libyan authorities to protect the former official, saying he had been the target of an assassination attempt by his jailers. The UN’s special representative to Libya, Ian Martin, has instructed his staff to look into the claim. 

“Mr Dorda survived a murder attempt last night, 25 October, 2011, at the hands of his guards in the building where he was arrested,” Adel Khalifa Dorda, a nephew and son-in-law of the Gaddafi loyalist, wrote on behalf of the Dorda family. “He was thrown off the second floor leading to several broken bones and other serious injuries.” 

The nephew said authorities were forced to move Dorda to a hospital in Tripoli, where “as of now he is being held under extremely poor conditions.” 

The militiaman in charge of the hospital on Thursday confirmed Dorda was injured but refused to allow a reporter to interview him. The militiaman, Sadiq Turki, gave varying accounts of how Dorda was injured, first saying he had tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a second-story window, then saying the former official had been trying to escape his detention facility. 

“He’s the one who gave orders to kill and rape in Tripoli,” Turki told a reporter at the Mitiga military hospital. He declined to allow a reporter to talk to Dorda, saying, “This is confidential.” (...)

[Surgeon, Faraj] Al-Farjani and another doctor, Yahia Moussa, said Dorda’s wounds weren’t life-threatening but were serious for a 71-year-old man. The doctors said they hadn’t been able to question Dorda about how he was injured. (...)

Dorda had long been a high-ranking official in Gaddafi’s government, playing a role during his years at the United Nations in negotiating the deal that ended UN sanctions on Libya imposed after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and paving the way to a financial payout to relatives of the victims. 

[Omar Dorda played a significant part in gaining and maintaining Libyan Government acceptance of and support for my neutral venue proposal for a Lockerbie trial and in resolving difficulties that arose (largely through the intransigence of the then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) after the United States and the United Kingdom eventually accepted the need for such a solution. Without his quiet diplomacy at the United Nations in New York, I doubt if a Lockerbie trial would ever have taken place.]

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Abuzed Omar Dorda: an important Libyan figure in securing a Lockerbie trial

The following are excerpts from an item posted on this blog on 28 October 2011:

Ex-intel chief to Gaddafi wounded, raising more questions about handling of detainees

[This is the headline over a report published yesterday in the Checkpoint Washington section of The Washington Post website.  It reads in part:]

The former intelligence chief to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was seriously injured Tuesday while in the custody of the National Transitional Council, fueling concerns about the treatment of loyalists to the deposed government.

The cause of Abuzed Omar Dorda’s injuries are disputed, but a relative of Dorda, a one-time UN envoy, has appealed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president to intercede with Libyan authorities to protect the former official, saying he had been the target of an assassination attempt by his jailers. (...)

“Mr Dorda survived a murder attempt last night, 25 October, 2011, at the hands of his guards in the building where he was arrested,” Adel Khalifa Dorda, a nephew and son-in-law of the Gaddafi loyalist, wrote on behalf of the Dorda family. “He was thrown off the second floor leading to several broken bones and other serious injuries.”

The nephew said authorities were forced to move Dorda to a hospital in Tripoli, where “as of now he is being held under extremely poor conditions.” (...)

Dorda had long been a high-ranking official in Gaddafi’s government, playing a role during his years at the United Nations in negotiating the deal that ended UN sanctions on Libya imposed after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and paving the way to a financial payout to relatives of the victims.

[Omar Dorda played a significant part in gaining and maintaining Libyan Government acceptance of and support for my neutral venue proposal for a Lockerbie trial and in resolving difficulties that arose (largely through the intransigence of the then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) after the United States and the United Kingdom eventually accepted the need for such a solution. Without his quiet diplomacy at the United Nations in New York, I doubt if a Lockerbie trial would ever have taken place.]

Further references to Mr Dorda on this blog can be found here. The last, dated 14 April 2014, relates to the start of his trial (along with other officials from the Gaddafi regime) on charges ranging from corruption to war crimes related to the deaths during the 2011 uprising. A Google search discloses no references to Dorda or to this trial since that date.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Libyan leaders may face UN arrest warrants for war crimes

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Guardian. It reads in part:]

Senior Libyan officials face international arrest warrants for crimes against humanity, the United Nations security council will be told today.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is to brief the council about crimes committed by Muammar Gaddafi's forces since the Libyan uprising began in mid-February.

Western diplomats say the move is intended to ratchet up international pressure on Tripoli. Ocampo revealed that up to five warrants are likely to be issued in the next few weeks with the approval of the ICC's pre-trial chamber.

No names have been disclosed. But Al-Arabiya TV reported that the warrants could include Gaddafi himself and his son, the discredited reformist Saif al-Islam, who has strong UK links. It said others being targeted include Libya's former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, who defected to the UK, and Abu Zeyd Omar Dorda, director general of the Libyan External Security Organisation.

[Both Moussa Koussa and Omar Dorda were heavily involved in the international manoeuvrings that led to the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist. At the time, Dorda was Libyan Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and it was through him and the then UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell that problems arising from the terms of the August 1998 UK/US proposal for the Scottish Court in the Netherlands were ironed out. After the trial took place, Dorda played little part in Lockerbie affairs and, in particular, as far as I could see, had no role in the events leading up to Abdelbaset Megrahi's repatriation.

A report on the BBC News website can be read here.]

Friday 30 September 2016

Libyan UN plea for neutral venue Lockerbie trial

[What follows is a report from the United Nations by the Reuters news agency dated 30 September 1997:]

Libya called on the General Assembly on Tuesday to intervene in the Lockerbie affair to enable two Libyans charged with bombing an airliner over Scotland in 1988 to be tried in a country other than Britain or the United States.

Referring to Britain and the United States, Libyan UN representative Abuzed Dorda said: “How can anyone expect the Security Council to solve the problem when our adversaries are both permanent members of the council and possess the veto power? In other words, they are the judge and the jury.”

He said those countries “know, more than anybody else, that Libya has nothing to do at all with this airplane and the tragic incident.” Libya had “no problem with the Security Council and the Security Council has no problem with us,” he said.

If the United States and Britain had accepted proposals made by various regional and international organizations for resolving the problem, the council “would not have hesitated for one moment to accept them,” he added.

Dorda told Assembly delegates: “My country calls on you to intervene so that we can reach a peaceful solution to this dispute, one that would accelerate the holding of the trial for the two suspects before a fair and just court, in a climate free of prior condemnation ... in any place to be agreed upon or to be decided by the Security Council.”

He noted that, when the council held a ministerial-level meeting last week on the situation in Africa, the Lockerbie issue was raise by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, as OAU chairman; by OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim; as well as by foreign ministers.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who took part in the council meeting, said the only place the suspects could face trial under Scottish law was in Scotland. “There is no legal authority in the law of the Netherlands for a court of another jurisdiction to sit in The Hague,” he said. [RB: Less than one year later, of course, the governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom supplied the appropriate legal authority for a Scottish court to sit in the Netherlands.]

Replying to Dorda at the end of Wednesday's Assembly session, British UN representative Sir John Weston repeated an offer for observers from the Arab League, the OAU or any other such body to attend a trial held in Scotland, to monitor its impartiality.

“Additional facilities would also be provided, including daily access to the accused if the later so wished,” he said.

“It remains for the Libyan government to meet its responsibilities to abide by the council's decisions in full,” Weston added.

[RB: The full text of Ambassador Dorda’s UN speech can be found here. It is well worth reading.]

Friday 20 September 2013

Gaddafi-era Lockerbie officials go on trial in Tripoli

[The trial of thirty-seven Gaddafi-era officials on charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and human rights crimes during the revolution, opened yesterday in Tripoli. Most media reports have mentioned only one of the accused, Abdullah al-Senussi, Gaddafi’s intelligence chief and brother-in-law. However, the report in the Libya Herald refers to a number of other defendants:]

The Tripoli hearing was largely concerned with the formalities of establishing charges and identities. Along with Senussi who looked thin and gaunt, appearing to confirm his doctor’s claim that he has prostate cancer, the 36 accused appearing today included Qaddafi’s External Security Agency head Abu Zaid Omar Dorda, former Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, the General People’s Conference head Mohamed al-Zway, former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, and Tripoli Internal Security Agency head Mansour Dhou.

Unlike Senussi, Dorda, Obeidi and Zway have already made court appearances in Tripoli. Dorda’s case was adjourned on several occasions while Obeidi and Zway, who were arrested in July 2011, were found not guilty in June on charges of maladministration while in office and wasting public funds. (...)

At the end of two hours today, during which the defendants confirmed their names and the charges against them were read out, the pre-trial hearing was adjourned until 3 October. By then, the judge and his deputy ordered, defence lawyers must have reviewed their clients’ files and prepared their defences.

The proceedings were watched by a handful of foreign press reporters alongside local print and media journalists. Outside the court, there was a small protest by families of Busleem prison massacre victims, many with placards demanding that Senussi and others be hanged.  Security was high both inside and outside the courtroom, with local shops being asked to close up.

[Messrs Dorda, Obeidi and Zway were all heavily involved in the resolution of the Lockerbie impasse.  I had many meetings with all of them and always found them open, trustworthy and honest in their dealings with me.]

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Lockerbie and the Tripoli verdicts

[What follows is excerpted from a report published in today’s edition of The Herald:]

The Tripoli court also sentenced to death seven others, including former Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

The Crown Office had previously commented on Senussi's potential value to the new inquiry when he was extradited from Mauritania, on the west coast of Africa, to Libya in September 2012.

Mr Mulholland and the FBI have previously stated their continuing belief Libya was behind the massacre and al-Megrahi carried out the operation.

But Professor Robert Black QC, one of the architects of the Camp Zeist trial which convicted al-Megrahi, has said that while the execution of Senussi would not have major implications for the Lockerbie case, Omar-Dorda's death may.

He said: "If Lockerbie was a Libyan operation, which I've yet to be convinced it was, I doubt if Senussi was in the loop. He was mainly concerned with internal security, ie keeping Gaddafi in power, rather than foreign operations.

"But the events in Tripoli do impact on Lockerbie in other ways. One of those sentenced to death is Abuzed Omar-Dorda, who was instrumental in brokering the arrangement that led the UK and USA eventually to agree to a non-jury trial in the Netherlands. A genuinely good guy."

Professor Black said another two Libyans with Lockerbie connections had been acquitted: Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, former Foreign Minister who chaired the Libyan government committee that dealt with securing a Lockerbie trial and, later, with the ramifications of the guilty verdict against Megrahi, and Mohammed Zwai who was, for most of the relevant period during which the [fallout from the] Lockerbie trial was being considered, Libyan ambassador in London.

Dr Jim Swire, the public face of the British families of the Lockerbie victims and sceptic over the role of al-Megrahi and Libya, said he believed the executions were "irrelevant" to resolve any outstanding questions over the tragedy.

But he also described the Tripoli decisions as a "put down for the concept of international justice".

He added: "I had hoped vainly these guys would be handed over to international criminal courts, given a fair trial and no death sentence imposed. They have been tried in a court which wouldn't be recognised outside Libya.

"I'm particularly sad about Dorda, who I knew well and met many times."

Saturday 7 March 2015

More international pressure on UK & USA over Lockerbie trial intransigence

[On this date in 1998 The Pan Am 103 Crash Website edited by Safia Aoude carried a report on a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to consider renewing sanctions against Libya. The report reads in part:]

The Security Council on Friday regrettably retained without change the sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 for failing to hand over two suspects in the 1988 midair bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.

But, at the request of Arab and African countries, council members agreed during private consultations earlier this week to hold a full-scale debate on March 20 on the Libya sanctions in light of a recent World Court decision. Last Friday, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled it had jurisdiction to hear Libyan arguments that the 1971 Montreal civil aviation convention allows the suspects to be put on trial in Libya and that Britain and the United States are acting unlawfully in insisting on their extradition to one or other of those countries.

London and Washington played down the ruling as a technicality. Tripoli called it a victory and Libyan revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi, in a speech last Monday, urged the Security Council to suspend the sanctions. Despite support for Libya among some council members, the sanctions remain in force unless the council takes a specific decision to ease them. Such a resolution would need a minimum of nine votes to be adopted and could be vetoed by the United States and Britain, as permanent council members.

Libya, backed by Arab, African and many other nonaligned countries, has long been pressing for the two suspects to be tried at a so-called neutral venue, saying they could not get a fair trial in Britain or the United States where the two alleged intelligence agents have both been indicted.

Friday's closed-door review of the sanctions, which include an arms and air embargo and the downgrading of diplomatic relations, was the 18th in a series conducted every 120 days. The initial sanctions were tightened in 1993 with a freeze on some Libyan assets abroad and a ban on some types of equipment used in oil terminals and refineries. But they do not affect oil exports or oil drilling equipment of a certain size and fabrication.

Libyan ambassador Abuzed Dorda spoke of the “strong support for my country from all of the international community” except the United States and Britain. “Libya has no problem with the Security Council and the Security Council has no problem with Libya at all,” he said. “The only problem was between his country and the United States and Britain,” he told reporters. (...)

China's deputy UN representative Sheng Guofang expressed regret that “the various sides have still yet to reach consensus” and hoped the council would be able to “take a step forward on this issue.” “China does not favor any kind of sanction against any country, including sanctions on Libya,” he said, expressing support for options put forward by the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity for a trial at a neutral venue.

[A further report reads as follows:]

The Security Council decided on Thursday to hold a full-fledged debate on March 20 on sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 in light of a recent world court ruling.

But Britain and the United States rejected combining the public meeting, requested by Arab and African states, with the council’s periodic review of sanctions against Libya.

The closed Security Council review went as scheduled on Friday retaining without change the sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992. Friday’s closed-door review of the sanctions, which include an arms and air embargo and the downgrading of diplomatic relations, was the 18th in a series conducted every 120 days.

Libyan ambassador Abuzed Dorda spoke of the “strong support for my country from all of the international community” except the United States and Britain. “Libya has no problem with the Security Council and the Security Council has no problem with Libya at all,” he said. The only problem was between his country and the United States and Britain, he told reporters.

China’s deputy UN representative Sheng Guofang expressed regret that “the various sides have still yet to reach consensus” and hoped the council would be able “to take a step forward on this issue.”

“China does not favour any kind of sanction against any country, including sanctions on Libya,” he said, expressing support for options put forward by the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity for a trial at a neutral venue

Last Friday the Hague-based International Court of Justice ruled it had jurisdiction to hear Libyan arguments that the 1971 Montreal civil aviation convention allows the suspects to be put on trial in Libya and that Britain and the United States are acting unlawfully in insisting on their extradition.

London and Washington have played down the ruling as a technicality but Libya, backed by Arab, African and other nonaligned countries urged the Security Council to suspend the sanctions.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Verdicts due in Tripoli trial of Gaddafi-era officials

Verdicts are expected today in the trial before a court in Tripoli of 37 Gaddafi-era officials. As well as Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, they include figures who played a significant part in the resolution of the Lockerbie impasse between Libya and the United Kingdom and United States, including Abdul Ati al-Obeidi, Mohammed Belqasim Zwai and Abuzed Omar Dorda. See Libya court to rule on Gaddafi's son Saif, former officials on July 28 and Court to rule on Gaddafi’s son in war-torn Libya.

BBC News reports that Saif and eight others have been sentenced to death: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33688391. None of the reports so far available (11.40 am) mentions Obeidi, Zwai and Dorda.

Obeidi & Zwai acquitted, Dorda sentenced to death

[What follows is the text of a report published this afternoon on the Libya Herald website:]

As was widely expected, a court in Tripoli has sentenced Seif Al-Islam Qaddafi and Abdullah Senussi to death for war crimes during the 2011 revolution. Seven other senior member of the Qaddafi regime have also been given death sentences. They are:
  • Former prime minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi;
  • Abuzeid Dourda; former General Secretary of the General People’s Committee (effectively prime minister) then Qaddafi’s external intelligence chief;
  • Mansur Dhou, head of Qaddafi’s Tripoli internal security agency;
  • Milad Daman head of internal security;
  • Abdulhamid Ohida, an assistant to Senussi;
  • Awidat Ghandoor Noubi, responsible for Qaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees in Tripoli;
  • Mundar Mukhtar Ghanaimi
Among the other former regime figures on trial, 23 were given jail terms from life imprisonment in the case of eight of the accused to five years for one of them. One person, Nuri Al-Jetlawi, was ordered to be detained at a psychiatric hospital while four were found innocent and freed: former foreign minister Abdulati Al–Obeidi, Ali Zway, Mohamed Al-Waher and Amer Abani.
In the case of Saif Al-Islam, who like Abdullah Senussi, was wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the guilty verdict and sentencing was effectively in absentia. He is being held in Zintan.
All those sentenced to death, as well as the others, have a right to appeal within 60 days. Even if there is no appeal, the sentences still have to be endorsed by the High Court. If the sentences are carried out in the case of Saif Al-Islam, Senussi and the other seven sentenced to death, execution ill be by firing squad.
The court proceedings, held at Hadba Al-Khadra prison, have attracted considerable criticism from Libyan and international human rights lawayers and activists. In the case of Saif Al-Islam, his British lawyer, John Jones, condemned it as “a show trial”. “The whole thing is illegitimate from start to finish… It’s judicially sanctioned execution”, he said.
The internationally recognised government in Beida has rejected the trial as unsafe.
[RB: I am delighted at the acquittal of Messrs Obeidi and Zwai, both of whom played an important and honourable part in resolving the Lockerbie impasse between Libya and the United Kingdom and United States. The conviction of and death sentence on Abuzed Dorda horrify me. As Libya’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations he also had a major rĂ´le in the resolution of the issue. I met all of them on many occasions and found them entirely trustworthy and likeable.]

Thursday 20 April 2017

Gaddafi expresses support for neutral venue trial

[On this date in 1998 Dr Jim Swire and I had a meeting in Tripoli with Colonel Gaddafi. What follows is the text of a press release issued following our trip to Libya:]

A meeting to discuss issues arising out of the Lockerbie bombing was held in the premises of the Libyan Foreign Office in Tripoli on the evening of Saturday 18 April 1998.  Present were Mr Abdul Ati Obeidi, Under-Secretary of the Libyan foreign Office; Mr Mohammed Belqassem Zuwiy [Zwai], Secretary of Justice of Libya; Mr Abuzaid Omar Dorda, Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations; Dr Ibrahim Legwell, head of the defence team representing the two Libyan citizens suspected of the bombing; Dr Jim Swire, spokesman for the British relatives group UK Families-Flight 103; and Professor Robert Black QC, Professor of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh and currently a visiting professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.

At the meeting discussion focused upon the plan which had been formulated in January 1994 by Professor Black for the establishment of a court to try the suspects which would:
* operate under the criminal law and procedure of Scotland
* have in place of a jury an international panel of judges presided over by a senior Scottish judge
* sit not in Scotland but in a neutral country such as The Netherlands.

Among the issues discussed were possible methods of appointment of  the international panel of judges, and possible arrangements for the transfer of the suspects from Libya for trial and for ensuring their safety and security pending and during the trial.

Dr Legwell confirmed, as he had previously done in January 1994, that his clients agreed to stand trial before such a court if it were established.  The representatives of the Libyan Government stated, as they had done in 1994 and on numerous occasions since then, that they would welcome the setting up of such a court and that if it were instituted they would permit their two citizens to stand trial before it and would co-operate in facilitating arrangements for that purpose.

Dr Swire and Professor Black undertook to persist in their efforts to persuade the Government of the United Kingdom to join Libya in accepting this proposal.

On Sunday 19 April 1998, Professor Black met the South African ambassador to Libya and Tunisia, His Excellency Ebrahim M Saley, and discussed with him current developments regarding the Lockerbie bombing.  He also took the opportunity to inform the ambassador of how much President Mandela's comments on the Lockerbie affair at the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1997 in Edinburgh had been appreciated.

On Monday 20 April, Dr Swire and Professor Black had a meeting a lasting some 40 minutes with the Leader of the Revolution, Muammar al-Qaddafi.  Also present were the Libyan Foreign Secretary, Mr Omar al-Montasser, and Mr Dorda.  The Leader was informed of the substance of the discussions held on Saturday 18 April, and expressed his full support for the conclusions reached.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Restoration of diplomatic relations with Libya

[The following are three snippets from this date in 1999 that appear on the Libya: News and Views website:]

The UK has announced it is restoring full diplomatic links with Libya after a break of 15 years. The move follows the Libyan Government's acceptance of "general responsibility" for the killing of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot dead outside its London embassy in 1984. It has also agreed to pay substantial compensation to the Fletcher family and to co-operate in the investigation to find the killer. The compensation is understood to reach six figures, although the actual amount is not being revealed. [BBC]

Libya's UN ambassador on Wednesday attributed Libya's thaw in relations with Britain to Tripoli's surrender of two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case and said it was time UN sanctions were lifted. Ambassador Abuzed Omar Dorda said a resumption of ties with Britain, announced by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, “is the natural thing.” Dorda was reacting to Cook's announcement on Wednesday that London was resuming diplomatic relations with Libya after Tripoli agreed to cooperate in police investigations into the 1984 shooting of a British policewoman outside Libya's embassy in London. Cook told parliament Libya had also agreed to pay compensation for the killing. [Reuters]

The United States will not follow Britain's example and resume ties with Libya, at least until Tripoli offers compensation for the Americans killed over Lockerbie in 1988, the State Department said on Wednesday. Britain is reopening diplomatic relations after 15 years because Tripoli has agreed to cooperate in police investigations into the fatal shooting in 1984 of a British policewoman outside Libya's embassy in London. In Washington, US State Department spokesman James Foley noted the Libyan concessions and said the United States would seek the same for the families of victims of Pan Am flight 103, which blew up over Lockerbie in Scotland. [Reuters]