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Merkel wants to see Gaddafi on trial

world Updated: Aug 27, 2011 19:11 IST

Reuters
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted telling a newspaper on Saturday that she would like to see Libya's fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi put on trial -- even though he never gave his opponents a chance to defend themselves in court.

The International Criminal Court has indicted Gaddafi and issued arrest warrants in June for him, his son Saif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity for their role in the killing of civilian protesters at the start of a six-month uprising.

"Yes, Gaddafi should be put on trial based on the rule of law -- something that he never allowed his opponents to have," Merkel was quoted telling Bild am Sonntag newspaper to be published on Sunday.

Merkel also went out of her way to praise NATO's role in bringing about Gaddafi's downfall -- in contrast to her Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, who has controversially said it was U.N.-imposed economic sanctions that led to his downfall.

"I've got utmost respect for the NATO operations," she said. "We made clear from the start that no one should confuse our decision to abstain (on the UN vote authoritising) with neutrality. We stand firmly behind our allies and NATO."

Westerwelle has faced ridicule, even within his own party, for stating that it was chiefly UN-imposed economic sanctions that led to the downfall of Gaddafi rather than rebel forces with NATO air support.

Germany angered its allies in March for abstaining in a UN Security Council vote authorising military enforcement of no-fly-zone over Libya.