Libyan Sues NATO For Killing His Family; No Word If UN Will Be Co-Defendant

From the Associated Press:

BRUSSELS – A Libyan sought damages against NATO in a Belgian civil court on Wednesday, accusing the alliance of killing his wife and three children in an air strike, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Khaled Hemidi says his wife and children were killed in a bombing west of Tripoli on June 20 that had targetted his father, Khuwildi Hemidi, who is close to the regime of Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi and escaped unharmed.

NATO said at the time that warplanes had struck a high-level command and control centre in Sorman, 70 kilometres from Tripoli.

The regime charged that 15 people, including three children, were killed, but NATO insisted that the target was of military nature and that it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

Hemidi filed a lawsuit against NATO in Brussels on Wednesday over the deaths of this 34-year-old wife Safae, his two daughters, ages four and five, and his three-year-old son, his lawyer Ghislain Dubois said.

“The action is based on civil wrong due to NATO’s violation of the UN mandate, under Resolution 1973, which was aimed at protecting civilians,” Dubois said.

The lawsuit will be filed in a court in Brussels because NATO’s headquarters are located in the Belgian capital. The first court hearing would take place seven to 10 days later, the lawyer said.

Dubois will seek an initial compensation of €100,000 for his client before seeking more, yet-to-be-specified damages.

The Sorman bombing came after NATO admitted that one of its missiles went astray in a Tripoli bombing that the regime said killed nine civilians.

The Tripoli blunder was criticized by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini who then called for a suspension of hostilities in Libya.

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