Capture of Gadhafi's son will let Libya put regime to rest: Canadian general

Halifax — The Globe and Mail

A picture taken on August 23, 2011 shows Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of ousted Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, appearing in front of supporters and journalists in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Seif al-Islam has been arrested in south Libya, NTC justice minister Mohammed al-Alagi said on November 19, 2011. (IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images/IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images)

The arrest of Moammar Gadhafi’s fugitive son will allow Libya to prove its legitimacy and to move on conclusively from its despotic past, according to the Canadian general who led NATO’s mission in the North African country.

Libyan officials said Seif al-Islam Gadhafi was arrested with several bodyguards in the southern desert town of Obari.

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Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard said a fair trial for the Gadhafi son “is critical” to the future of Libya after deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed while in rebel custody.

“It’s imperative for Libya to show their ability to exercise its legitimacy through proper conduct of law and order, through a fair trial,” Lt.-Gen. Bouchard told the Halifax International Security Forum.

“The Libyan people will learn from the previous situation, they know very well that the world is watching Libyan actions, and their actions will show the international community what direction Libya is heading from how they handle this. I believe he will be treated equitably.”

Lt.-Gen. Bouchard said Seif al-Islam was his father's “number one son” and was among the top three officials from the former regime who “brought violence to the Libyan people.”

The Royal Canadian Air Force general and Defence Minister Peter MacKay were defending the doctrine of responsibility to protect to the gathering of international government and military officials and experts.

Mr. MacKay called the Libya intervention “the most successful” example of the international community acting on the responsibility to protect civilians from despotic regimes.

In recent days, rival factions among the Libyan rebels have clashed, leading to questions whether enduring peace will be quickly established in the North African country.

The defence minister defended the allies from accusations that the mission was really about regime change rather than protecting civilians.

“There will be all kinds of motives and hidden agendas prescribed, but you are trying to prevent atrocities, you are trying to prevent slaughter,” Mr. MacKay said.

Quizzed on whether Syria would be next, Mr. MacKay said the international community has yet to reach the consensus that led to the move against the Gadhafi regime.