French Lawyer : After the UN, Ahmed El Khalil Case Soon to be Brought Before ICC and UN HR Committee
After bringing the case of Ahmed El Khalil, a former leader of the "polisario" who has been missing since 2009, before the fourth committee of the UN General Assembly, French lawyer Hubert Seillan intends to refer this case of enforced disappearance to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
Mandated by the family of the disappeared, including two of his brothers and two of his sons, Seillan, a lawyer at the Paris Court of Appeal, recently questioned the fourth committee about the fate of his client Ahmed El Khalil, in charge of the "human rights case and advisor" to the leader of the "polisario", arrested on 6 January 2009 while on his way to the Faculty of Human Rights in Algiers where he intended to denounce certain practices in the Tindouf camps, particularly practices of misappropriation of funds and human rights violations.
"Ahmed El Khalil was denouncing the apparatus when he was arrested. Since then, he has never been seen again," Hubert Seillan told MAP.
"His family came to meet me on one of my trips. It was in Smara and one of his brothers and then a second one came and asked me to help them see things clearly and defend Ahmed El Khalil's interests," said the French lawyer who agreed to take charge of the case.
Afterwards, the French lawyer met one of the sons of the missing person, Rachid El Khalil, who lives in southwest France. "Today, the whole family confirmed this mission to me," said Hubert Seillan, who is determined to shed light on this case of enforced disappearance, while acknowledging that the task is difficult.
First of all, "I started by sending a complaint to the prosecutor in Algiers without any answer being given to me. I then alerted the International Red Cross. In vain. They claim that it is up to the people of Tindouf to seize the Red Cross". It is an absurd cynicism: "do you think it was convenient for the people of Tindouf to seize the Red Cross," wondered Seillan, who regretted the Red Cross' stance.
"I'm sorry, but I have to say it. Today, the Red Cross poses a problem of formalism that bothers me," he said, believing that there are situations where the Red Cross must take charge of the cases itself.
Faced with the inertia of the Red Cross, Hubert Seillan then decided to warn Human Rights NGOs. Here again, it's a lost cause! "I have realized that too many of them have, unfortunately, it must be recognized, a unilateral vision of Human Rights," he regretted.
Determined, the French lawyer decided to continue his quest for the truth. He then decided to bring the subject before the fourth committee, where he made a plea for Ahmed El Khalil, with at his side, the brother of the disappeared coming from Smara and three of his cousins.
In his pleading, Hubert Seillan affirmed that his duty as a lawyer, deeply committed to the respect and defense of Human Rights, pushed him to launch "an urgent, immediate and solemn call" to the committee of the General Assembly, to "take note of these abuses and to ensure that justice is done in the name of Ahmed El Khalil and the other persons subjected to these violations".
"The +polisario+ proves, by its actions, its profound denial of Human Rights. We must collectively condemn this disappearance and such practices,” stressed the French lawyer, for whom "silence in the face of this human tragedy is contrary to the responsibilities and commitments that we collectively undertake".
But aware that the UN has no coercive authority in this kind of case, Hubert Seillan decided not to stop there and to knock on other doors.
"I am currently considering filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court and the UN HR Committee in Geneva," he said, expressing his "deep determination" to give this case all the necessary attention "as long as I have the strength". "I know that it will be difficult because there is an Algerian side to it that is almost a matter of State, but I say very firmly to this country that we must be able to analyze the reality of the facts".
MAP 04 November 2019