The case of Ahmed El Khalil, a former leader of the “polisario” who has been missing since 2009, will be referred as a case of enforced disappearance to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
The case referral will be made by French attorney Hubert Seillan, at the request of two sons and two brothers of Khalil.
Ahmed El Khalil, who was formerly advisor to the Polisario leader for human rights, was arrested on 6 January 2009 while on his way to deliver a lecture in Algiers on some practices in the Tindouf camps, particularly misappropriation of funds and human rights violations.
Hubert Seillan, a lawyer at the Paris Court of Appeal, had recently brought up Khalil’s case before the UN fourth committee, after the International Red Cross declined to handle the case, unless the Tindouf camps populations themselves ask it to do so.
The French lawyer pleaded for Ahmed El Khalil before the 4th committee, with at his side, the brother of the missing man and three of his cousins who had come from Smara.
“Ahmed El Khalil was denouncing the Polisario apparatus when he was arrested. Since then, he has never been seen again,” Hubert Seillan told MAP.
He said Khalil’s family members, including his brothers and sons, asked him to defend the missing man while he was on a trip in Smara and he accepted.
Hubert Seillan said he is determined to shed light on this case of enforced disappearance, although the task is difficult.
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 Human Rights Committee in Geneva,” he said, expressing his “deep determination” to give this case all the necessary attention.