Britain has hailed the defection of Libya’s Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa as evidence that Gaddafi’s regime is starting to collapse.
The UK’s foreign minister said the move would help others abandon the Libyan leader: “We encourage those around Gaddafi to abandon him and embrace the better future for Libya, that allows political transition and real reform, that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people,” William Hague told reporters.
“Moussa Koussa’s resignation shows that Gaddafi regime’s, which has already seen significant defections to the opposition, is fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within,” he added.
Hague also said the UK will not offer Libya’s former spy chief any immunity from British or international prosecution and that Koussa is voluntarily speaking to security officials. Koussa reportedly defected because he opposed government attacks on civilians. Hague said Koussa is in a “safe location” but refused to give any details of what he has told those who are debriefing him.
The Foreign Secretary, who was speaking at the launch of a 350-page report on human rights, said the intervention in Libya is “action that is legal, necessary and right,” adding “we led the drive to refer Libya to the International Criminal Court and to suspend it from the UN Human Rights Council, so that those responsible for atrocities know that there will be a day of reckoning.”
Reports from our correspondent:
- 30.03 - A night in the desert with the Libyan rebels
- 30.03 - Libyan rebels retreat without allied air cover
Koussa flew from Tunisia on Wednesday into Farnborough Airport, south of London. He is said to have played a role in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing over Scotland in which 270 people were killed.
Rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani in the eastern city of Benghazi also reportedly claimed Koussa had blood on his hands in Libya, accusing him of involvement in killing and torture, as well as the assassination of exiled opposition members abroad.
The human rights report unveiled by Hague recognised 26 “countries of concern”. The British Foreign Secretary said Iran had more executions per capita than any other country and more jailed journalists than anywhere else in the world. Hague also criticised China, claiming the country had made no significant progress on civil and political rights in 2010.
To see the full report, click on the link below.