A NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS: Our first article was written to inform about the scandal of the London Law firm handling Libya’s international legal cases at that time, and then we including another law firm representing BOTH sides and ALL participants in the ICC case. Although, Mr. Belhadj’s case is running its course, (with these SAME firm mentioned and although Cherie Booth has resigned in September 2014 from Matrix Chambers) we retain right to maintain the op/ed article as is, as it was a snapshot of the firm when it was published on 20 May 2013. However, we open up this article, on the 18th November 2014, to the Libyan People as a reminder of those two LONDON LAW FIRMS that have been PAID to represent the Libyan People’s best interests. Is the fact of representing ALL their Libyan clients in the best interest of the Libyan people?
Dear Mr. Belhadj:
This letter is to provide facts about one law office representing you in your rendition lawsuit which implicates members in the government of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. These facts have not been previously compiled. As you know, Leigh Day law firm are the solicitors managing the case. However, you may not know that Leigh Day then “instructed“ lawyers from Matrix Chambers to advise them. As Mr. Hermer noted on his CV “Belhadj v Jack Straw and others, concerning the applicability of the Foreign Act of State doctrine to claims against the Foreign Secretary and Security Services for alleged complicity in rendition..” Richard-Hermer-QC
Besides handling your case, the barristers of Matrix Chambers are presently involved in other Libyan political cases. The following discourse details Matrix Chambers members and their Libyan cases. With respect to these cases, we will show evidence by international and Libyan standards, what should be considered a conflict of interest at Matrix Chambers. We will conclude by providing the legal solution for Libya to dismiss the dispute before the International Criminal Court for jurisdiction to try Saif Gaddafi and Abdulla Senussi. Then, it is for you and the Libyan people to decide if Matrix is the law firm to represent you.
The key points about Matrix Chambers are:
- Mrs. Blair receives a percentage of the money paid by the new Libyan Government to Matrix Chambers for your case. As a member in this law firm which is a company of private limited with share capital, she receives a percentage of all money paid for work in the office (& her spouse Tony?)
- Mrs. Blair’s firm ADVISED on the case against UK Government about actions of members of HER husband’s government. Four Matrix lawyers are providing advice in YOUR cases (al-Saadi/Belhadj) against members of the government of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. SEE: Here as 13/12/12 Settlement of Libyan Claims. is no longer on Matrix Chamber News.
- Matrix published that they settled the al-Saadi case. (ABOVE RIGHT) In other words, members of Mrs. Blair’s own office ‘sucessfully acts’ in the settlement of the case against UK Government about actions by members of her husband, Tony Blair’s government. See: Twitter Matrix Chambers or HERE.
- Matrix Chambers members represented BOTH sides of the same issue facing Libya at the ICC. Simultaneously, Matrix’s Philippe Sands and Michelle Butler represent Libya as Matrix’s Ben Emmerson represents Abdullah Senussi and attempts to instigate UN sanctions and file ICC petitions against the Libya.
The same law firm that represent YOU also represent Abdulla Senussi. In separate cases, Matrix lawyers advise YOU, the torture victims of the Gaddafi regime while another Matrix lawyer represents one of your torturers. A 25th January 2009 video documents Abdulla Senussi taunting YOU and Sami al-Saadi by threatening “to have your throats slit”. Mr. Belhadj, note the irony of Matrix’s Ben Emmerson’s filings and publicity which advertise the violation of Senussi’s human rights in an “unlawful rendition”.
This 25th January 2009 Tripoli TV video shows Matrix client Abdulla Senussi berating and intimidating Matrix client Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Matrix client Sami al-Saadi by threatening ‘to have their throats slit.’ This visual encapsulated the fact that Matrix Chambers is representing both the Libyan victims of torture and THEIR Libyan torturer. Abdullah Senussi’s actions in this video are a violation of European Convention of Human Rights and the UK Human Rights Act of 1998. Here, Here and Here which Matrix Chambers, a human right law firm, presumably knows. It is a violation of the essential rights protected by the Human Rights Act in Article 3: The Right not to be subjected to torture, inhuman treatment or degrading treatment or punishment. The link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZTmffFypYQ
- Two member of the Libya’s ICC legal team have either FRIENDSHIP and/or FAMILY TIES to historical and/or currently active sponsors or friends of Saif Gaddafi.
1. Payam Akhavan. A member of the Libyan Legal Team has personal links to Saif Gaddafi’s friends…a friend of a friend of a friend…Payam Akhavan, Libya’s ICC Lawyer, has a friend who is ‘a very close personal friend and confidant of Saif Gaddafi.’ Unapologetic, she is actively generating letters and ICC legal petitions for the benefit of Saif Gaddafi. See our PDFs: Saif Gaddafi, Mishana Hosseinioun and Payam Akhavan and Mishana to Libyan Justice Minister.
Also, Payam Akhavan was with Saif Gaddafi as “active members” for 5 years in the same political organization, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. Both were named as part of the 2006 WEF’s YGLs. The WEF site notes that Dr. Akhavan was a 2006 stakeholder in YGL Intellectual. See image and WEF link, type in Payam Akhavan. Bloomberg News noted on January 2012 after the 2011 revolution that:
‘Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, was named a Young Global Leader at the forum in 2006. He was captured by rebels in November while trying to flee to Niger a month after his father was killed in Libya’s overthrow.
2. Philippe Sands. Libya’s ICC Lawyer Philippe Sands’ in-laws have an association to one of Saif’s most enduring international sponsor. The in-laws of Phillippe Sands have a documented financial, professional, and personal, relationship with one of Saif Gaddafi’s most enduring international allies, George Soros. See: Philippe Sands in-laws.
How Libya could STILL CANCEL the investigation at the International Criminal Court.
One member of the current Libyan Government is aware of the issue. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz was questioned as a deputy foreign minister. On the 15th of June 2012 in the Libya Al Hurra’s show Window on the Transitional Government, Mohamed Abzayza presented these facts about Matrix Chambers. Foreign Minister Abdel Aziz seemed to dismiss the conflict of interest by saying in essence that Matrix is an international firm with many members and what is of concern is what they submit to the court.
However, we wish to note that Foreign Minister Abdel Aziz has within his portfolio the solution to the ICC investigation and this law firm. Article 16 of Rome Statue that established the International Criminal Court grants the UN Security Council the right to order the ICC to stop investigating or discontinue the trial procedures.
A member of Libya’s ICC team agreed that ICC proceeding could be cancelled through the Security Council
A member of Libya’s ICC team, Dr. Akhavan said that the ICC proceedings COULD BE CANCELLED through the diplomatic channels. That is through the United Nations’ Security Council. We quote this former Legal Adviser to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court:
“One final point is that the Libyan case has been put before the Court by the Security Council referral and there is …huh… Libya has never signed the statute of the court, so the court only has jurisdiction because of the UN Security Council referral and the Security Council could decide to withdrawal that referral in deference to the Libyan government. In which case, the ICC prosecutor would have no leg to stand on…”
In other words, the Court has NO RIGHT to Saif or Abdulla Senussi if the Security Council withdraws that referral to the ICC, as it would thereby cancel the ICC proceedings. The mechanism he refers to is Article 16 of the Rome Statue. SEE: ROME STATUTE
Article 16 Deferral of Investigation or Prosecution: No investigation or prosecution may be commenced or proceeded with under this Statute for a period of 12 months after the Security Council, in a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, has requested the court to that effect, that request may be renewed by the Council under the same conditions.
Start at 3:27. SEE: ICC, Libyan Government at Odds over Saif al-Islam Trial. This CBC video was removed from DailyMotion but…
A 5 November 2015 Update from the Authors:
Is Legacy a concern for those involved in Libya’s ICC Case?
This Canadian Broadcast Company video was removed after over 400 views worldwide and four years on Dailymotion. We, however, have a copy of the CBC video. As it is so important for the Libyan people to see and hear their hired legal representatives discuss their ICC case while representing them and BEFORE, we place a video link to our November 2011 CBC copy on our FACEBOOK site to maintain the integrity and continuity of the articles that contain reference to this video. Therefore, we maintain the articles as they were while adding our copy of the CBC interview.
The rest of our article…
Dr. Akhavan, former Legal Advisor to the ICC’s Prosecutor’s Office gave an interview on CBC News shortly after Saif was captured. He is Dr. Payam Akhavan. This opinion was given prior to representing Libya, in a 20th November 2011 CBC televised interview. SEE: ICC, Libyan Government at Odds over Saif al-Islam Trial.
Was Libya informed they could exercise this right? Did Libya’s ICC defense team Matrix Chambers’ members Philippe Sands and Michelle Butler and Payam Akhavan bound by Codes of Conduct in their respective jurisdictions provide this advice to Foreign Minister Abdel Aziz? If so, we have to ask why didn’t Mr. Abdel Aziz exercise Libya’s right to approach the Security Council to request that they cancel the ICC proceedings? We do note that Article 16 is still a viable option.
A background of UK Barrister Chambers with regard to Matrix Chambers; Financials, Breach of Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest.
Without providing an overly in-depth commentary on UK Barrister Chambers system, barristers consider themselves as self-employed lawyers linked in a fraternity and who pay tenancy fees for maintenance of their chambers. Setting aside this pretentious misperception, a closer inspection into the chambers system reveals a modern company. In the case of Matrix Chambers (company number 03923287) it is a private limited company with share capital. A private limited company with share capital is one that allows its members to have a stake (shares) in the company in exchange for money they contribute. These members are considered shareholders. Provided that the company makes a profit, each shareholder will receive money in the form of a dividend. The amount a shareholder will earn from a dividend depends on the number of shares they hold, i.e. the more shares you own the more you will receive from dividends.
Cherie Blair profits from Libyan Cases. Cherie Booth, (aka Mrs. Tony Blair) is a founding partner and shareholder in Matrix Chambers; as such she receives money (dividends) paid based on profit earned from the Matrix Chambers member’s collective work. Matrix Chambers handles these Libyan cases: al-Saadi/Belhadj, Libyan representation at ICC and defense for Abdulla Senussi. Therefore, Cherie Blair (and Tony?) does profit from Libyan money paid to Matrix Chambers for the al-Saadi/Belhadj case, and their representation at the International Criminal Court. Mrs. Blair would also profit from the legal representation of Abdullah Senussi.
Breach of Confidentiality. Secondly, breach of confidentiality is a genuine predicament as both sides of Abdulla Senussi case are handled within same physical proximity of Matrix Chambers’ office. This law firm shares communal staff and facilities such as communal break rooms, electronic diaries, email address, phone, facsimile and computer networks. The communal factor of the chamber’s facilities, networks and staff are what provides an opportunity where confidential client information could be divulged. In other words, because Abdulla Senussi’s lawyer shares the same office with the Libya’s lawyers; there is a real possibility of a leak of confidential information from the Libya’s ICC case.
Even given the prospect of confidentiality breaches, the Bar Standards Board, the governing body of the barristers of UK and Wales STILL considers it acceptable that barristers in the same chambers appear on opposite sides of the same case. The Bar Council relies upon each barrister to regulate and govern their chambers’ actions as not to divulge confidential information to the opposing side. In other words, the lawyers are governing themselves.
Conflict of Interest. The ethical freedom permitted to UK barristers is not ethical, legal or acceptable in most of the world, and most notably, it isn’t acceptable in Libya. Considering the management committee’s choice to represent ALL these Libyan clients, one could argue, the pursuit of money and politics, not human rights was Matrix’s motivation. It could be argued that Matrix Chambers have blurred the lines of a conflict of interest in order to accept ALL their Libyan clients.
Matrix Chambers Members: Conflict of Interest and their Libyan cases. This is more in-depth examination of the Matrix Chambers members.
Cherie Booth QC. Cherie Booth is a Matrix Chambers founding partner and the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Tony Blair had an elaborate, documented, pre-revolution personal, financial and political relationship with both Muammar and Saif Gaddafi. So recognized was the Blair/Gaddafi ties, Gaddafi cronies contacted the British press during the revolution to demand Mr. Blair’s assistance in intervening with the UK government on the Gaddafis’ behalf. From an international standard, Tony Blair’s connection to Saif and Muammar Gaddafi should be an apparent conflict of interest for Mrs. Blair, and for her law firm, so should any case involving Libya. These points reflect by most international standards what should be the conflict of interest for Matrix due to Mrs. Blair.
Tony is not the ONLY Blair with connections to elements of the Gaddafi era. Although vehemently claiming no contact with the Gaddafi regime, Mrs. Blair DOES have connections to the Gaddafi-era Libyan Investment Authority, or at least, one of its former employees.
Documents show that Mrs. Blair has set up a company named Omnia Strategy LLP in October 2011 with the only other director being Alexandrina Wellesley. Known as Sofia Wellesley, “she worked at the Libyan Investment Authority where she project managed a team to start-up the operations of the sovereign wealth fund and to oversee assignments that formulated governance, human resource and asset allocation strategies.” Although, Ms. Wellesley resigned as director in July 2012, she still maintained a presence with Omnia Strategy in Human Business Development in 2013.
Cherie Blair’s other company advised the Bahraini Government during recent protests. Mrs. Blair, a human rights lawyer who “advised” on the implications of the Human Rights’ Act” of 1998, was chastised in the UK press for advising Middle East regimes on how to handle their citizens during 2011 protests. Through Omnia Strategy, she offered “her services as a legal and human rights consultant to the Bahraini regime, which cracked down on protests last year.” “Dissidents in Bahrain say Cherie’s money-making involvement is a PR opportunity for the brutal oil-rich regime to prop itself up in a country where more than 60 people have been killed in uprisings in the last year, and detainees claim to have been ritually tortured and threatened with rape.”
Cherie Blair’s law firm ADVISED and SETTLED a case against UK Government about actions of members of her husband’s government. Lead Law firm Leigh Day has “instructed“ Matrix attorneys Alex Bailin, Alison Macdonald and Mark Summers “to advise” in the al-Saadi/Belhadj case. The plaintiffs claim that members of the government of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered MI6 and/or MI5 to carry out their unlawful rendition, torture and subsequent turnover to the Gaddafi regime. Although, Sami al-Saadi has since settled, Abdel Hakim Belhadj has continued with the case. Matrix News published that Richard Hermer QC ‘successfully acted’ for the ‘settlement’ of the case. See: Matrix Twitter or our PDF: Twitter Matrix Chambers or the above insert as it is no longer on the Matrix Chambers News. We wish to submit our October 2013 copy of a PDF where Richard Hermer files documents on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhadj and his wife. SEE: Richard Hermer – AH Belhadj.
Matrix Chambers’ involvement in a case against members of the government of Mrs. Blair’s husband should be an OBVIOUS conflict of interest. Is it surprising that the settlement in the al-Saadi case is ended positively for the Blairs? Here & Here. Point of fact, Matrix’s Richard Hermer negotiated the settlement where “the UK Government has not admitted any liability in the case.” Therefore, members in Tony Blair’s government were not held responsible for the unlawful rendition. This familiarity of Matrix Chambers through Cherie Booth to her husband to the previous Gaddafi regime, should be an obvious conflict of interest.
Concerning Tony Blair, Libya has already made a decision. Libyan Ambassador to the UK Mahmoud Nacouah made a request of the UK Government: Do not to send Tony Blair as its representative to Libya. Can we assume that ALL the Gaddafi baggage that Tony Blair carries is the impetus for this decision. If Tony Blair is NOT welcome in Libya, with all the law firms in London, why hire the one where his wife is a partner?
Ben Emmerson QC. Matrix partner Benedict Emmerson represents Abdulla Senussi.
Ben Emmerson’s team. Emmerson’s team includes barristers Amal Alamuddin and Rodney Dixon. We make note of Alamuddin’s article was once connected by a link to the Lawyers for Justice in Libya, LFJL site, it is no longer available. Nor is it available on her iLawyer Blog where Ms. Alamuddin is a co-iLawyer with her fellow Doughty Street Chambers‘ member, John R.W.D. Jones. John Jones is already well-known as Saif Gaddafi’s ICC lawyer. HERE, HERE & HERE. Her article is heavily slanted towards the ICC jurisdiction. It was written in February 2012 and she then became part of the Abdulla Senussi legal team. The article is overwhelmingly sarcastic and negative for Libya’s right to retain and try Saif in Libya. In fact, in direct contradiction to Payam Akhavan’s previous opinion, Ms. Alamuddin’s dismisses Libya’s legal right, article 16 of the Rome Statue within a footnote. See our copy of the presently-hard-to-locate PDF: Amal Alamuddin’s article about Saif and ICC .
SEE PDF: Amal Alamuddin’s article about Saif and ICC .
Lawyers For Justice in Libya and REDRESS approach the International Criminal Court. The London-based NGO LFJL along with another London-based NGO REDRESS TRUST offered to provide their observations of the Libyan legal system to the International Criminal Court in relation to the Saif Gaddafi/ Abdulla Senussi case. At the time in Libya there were concerns about the impartiality of the report; specifically there are questions about the methodology and speculations that the interviewees were duped. Implications were that the interviewees, (Libyan-based lawyers), were not informed that their contributions would be compiled in an overtly negative international report which would undermine the new Libyan Government’s case and would be used as a legal basis to support the case for Saif or Abdulla to be tried at The Hague. Note, that we found no evidence that the report submitted to the ICC was contested by the legal team representing Libya. As a result, it seems this the dubious report was accepted as a factual representation of the Libyan Legal system and is seems to be a basis for claims that Libya’s legal system is not able to try Saif Gaddafi and Abdulla Senussi competently.
Since January 2012 Rodney Dixon and Sir Geoffrey Nice have represented Mishana Hosseinioun at the ICC. As “a very close personal friend and confidant of Saif Gaddafi”,(page 3), Mishana and her legal team have filed continuous petitions (as of 5/2013 there are 74 Mishana petition search results on the ICC site) in her attempt to be allowed to contact Saif al Gaddafi. Although in her ICC petitions, she claims no ties to the Gaddafi family; Mishana’s first petition to the ICC court appears to be in coordination with Aisha Gaddafi’s petition. Mishana’s is nearly identical in composition, filed one day apart, and figures prominently in Aisha Gaddafi’s petition. Considering the time it takes to post a document on the ICC site and then use it in one’s own petition, is it still coincidental? Mishana in Aisha’s ICC petition Coincidental? Not according to the ICC Chambers. Considering Aisha and Mishana’s petitions somehow similar or linked, the judges chose to give their decision in the same negative ruling.
Besides Saif, Mishana’s other friend, Payam Akhavan, is Libya’s ICC Lawyer. Yet, most disquieting is that Mishana is not only a “close very personal friend and confidant of Saif Gaddafi”, but is friends with one of Libya’s lawyers. Payam Akhavan “was hired along with another human rights maverick Philippe Sands, as legal counsel to represent the Libyan government”. Mishana, active politically and legally for Saif, revealed her friendship with Payam Akhavan, on January 21, 2013 to Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc in Justice For All: Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi V. Libya, Part 1. Our PDF: Saif Gaddafi, Mishana Hosseinioun and Payam Akhavan
Matrix’s Ben Emmerson attempts to initiate international sanctions against Libya. Considering their history with the Saif Gaddafi issue, these lawyers have been actively instigating UN sanctions against Libya. The rhetoric leveled at that the post-revolution Libyan government has threatened it with UN Sanctions. Matrix’s Ben Emmerson made this comment as he assumed his role as lawyer representing Abdulla Senussi before the International Criminal Court:
“It is proof positive of the urgent and imperative need for the (U.N.) Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya for its flagrant, deliberate and grave violations of Security Council resolution 1970.”
According to IBA Global Insight, Emmerson wrote in his submission to the ICC:
‘It is clear that intervention by the Security Council is now the only means of securing compliance by Libya with its international obligations.’ He went on to say, ‘The Security Council now needs to take action. If Libya fails to comply, sanctions should be imposed.’
Emmerson wrote simultaneously to the President of the UN Security Council “and British Foreign Secretary William Hague to ask them to use their influence to put pressure on the Libyans.” In this letter to the foreign office, “Emmerson alleges Senussi was subject to ‘unlawful rendition’ and handed over to the new Libyan government for 250m dinars (£125m).” By accepting Abdulla Senussi as his client, Emmerson, by international and Libyan standards, has entered into what by international standards another obvious Matrix conflict of interest with members Philippe Sands and Michelle Butler as they defend the government of Libya. As a result, Matrix lawyers have file briefs before the ICC to both retain Abdulla Senussi on Libyan soil and to move him to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
Philippe Sands QC. Matrix attorney Philippe Sands represents the Government of Libya before the International Criminal Court. Philippe Sands may have a conflict of interest which should be of concern to Libya.
Philippe Sands’ in-laws and their connection to Saif’s most enduring international benefactor. The in-laws of Phillippe Sands have a documented personal, professional and financial relationship with one of Saif Gaddafi’s most enduring international allies, George Soros. A 2002 The New York Times article (1) describes a party hosted by Phillippe Sands’ father-in-law, André Schiffrin. George Soros was present at that dinner in Schiffrin’s home. Other guests included Philippe Sands’ sister and brother-in-law Joseph I. Stiglitz and Anya Schiffrin. Their links to George Soros are social, financial and professional. (2)
Joseph I. Stiglitz has an extensive financial and/or professional relationship with Georges Soros. Mr. Stiglitz’ organization, Initiative for Policy Dialogue receives funding from Soros‘ (3) Open Society Institute. Conversely, Stiglitz’ is and advisory board on the leadership board (4) of George Soros’ organization, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). Philippe Sands’ sister-in-Law is Anya (5) Schiffrin is on the advisory board of the Open Society Foundation’s Program on Independent Journalism and of Revenue Watch Institute.” Revenue Watch Institute’s new name (6) is now National Resource Governance Institute and Opens Society Foundation are organization founded and funded (7) by George Soros. Anya Schiffrin (8) works with her husband’s organization Initiative for Policy Dialogue, funded in part by George Soros.
George Soros, Saif’s most enduring international supporter. George Soros is the international financier who met Muammar and Saif Gaddafi in 2007. (9) Referring to George Soros, Howard Davies LSE administrator stated that he was the largest donor (10) to London School of Economics. As such, did Soros used his influence, (“advised”) to urge LSE administrators to accept Saif Gaddafi’s financial contributions? Confirmation of this financier’s role in LSE/ Libya scandal was confirmed in Soros’ apology. (11) The resulting scandal was documented in Lord Woolf’s 2011 Inquiry into LSE and Libya. The Guardian reported on 4 March 2011:
As part of the fall-out, billionaire US financier George Soros last night apologised for having advised the LSE to take Libyan money. Soros studied at LSE as an undergraduate, and had advised the school that it was acceptable to receive the contribution from Gaddafi’s son, Saif, on the grounds that he appeared at the time to be a believer in open society and claimed to be working to move Libya in that direction. A spokesman for Soros said he had come to see that his advice was “a mistake in judgment, which he now greatly regrets”.
Has this financier/philanthropist used financial influence on organizations to assist Saif Gaddafi? Soros’ $100 million contribution to Human Rights Watch (12) and other Soros funded organizations like Amnesty International have arguably turned Saif Gaddafi from one of the revolution’s main aggressor to its highest profile victim. It should be noted that HRW (13) has arguably coordinated with (14) and prop up Saif before, (15) during (16) and after the revolution. (17) HRW Fred Abrahams’ visit to Saif on the 19th November 2011 and the subsequent media blitz (18) culminated in Fred saying in the uploaded 24 December 2011 interview to CNN’s Fionnuala Sweeney, “We will not forget Saif!” You will have a difficult time locating this quote at the end in this 3:22 clip, which we witnessed, as the original airing has since been edited. (Watch with the transcript and see that both end abruptly.)
See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmDxVo1zY3M For accuracy we provide our numbered screenshot PDFs of the webpages mentioned above: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Monitor Group- Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya and Muammar Gadhafi, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
In a 2013, these George Soro-funded NGOs relationship with the Gaddafi Regime was acknowledged and denounced in a 149 page document published by Northwestern Law School. The document states ‘In the case of Libya, HRW and Amnesty International actively promoted the regime…’ SEE the PDF: Northwestern Law PDF
Philippe Sands’ family has a personal, financial and professional relationship to Saif’s most enduring benefactor. Does Libya know? Does this impede Philippe Sands’ ability as he represents Libya in their attempt to retain Saif Gaddafi? Further, has it hindered Matrix’s ability to impartially and effectively advise the new Libyan Government to retain Saif Gaddafi and Abdulla Senussi?
Lord Ken Macdonald. Lord Ken Macdonald is founding member of Matrix Chambers. He is the chair of Reprieve, the human rights organization which championed the rights of Sami al-Saadi, a victim of the Gaddafi regime. The plea’s letterhead noting Lord Macdonald affiliation accused Musa Koussa, Abdulla Senussi’s pro-Gaddafi compatriot, of torture and rendition. See the PDF: REPRIEVE
Nonetheless, it seems that Lord Macdonald has switched sides on the Gaddafi issue to coincide with fellow Matrix member Ben Emmerson’s rhetoric in the press. Lord Macdonald has raised questions about Abdulla Senussi in the House of Lords, asking for information about payments and whether “any [government] servants or agents has taken part in the questioning of Abdullah al-Senussi during the period of his detention in Mauritania [from 17 March to 5 September 2012) or in [Libya since then]”.
Payam Akhavan. Although not a Matrix lawyer, Matrix Chambers has collaborated with New York lawyer Payam Akhavan to represent Libya in the ICC case to retain Saif Gaddafi and Abdulla Senussi. Payam Akhavan may have a conflict of interest: is there a prior acquaintance with Saif Gaddafi?
Payam Akhavan was with Saif Gaddafi as “active members” for 5 years in the same political organization, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. Both were named as part of the 2006 WEF’s YGLs. Our PDF image: Saif in YGL 2006 Bloomberg Business. The WEF site notes that Dr. Akhavan was a 2006 stakeholder in YGL Intellectual. See image and WEF link, type in Payam Akhavan. Bloomberg News noted on January 2012 after the 2011 revolution that:
‘Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, was named a Young Global Leader at the forum in 2006. He was captured by rebels in November while trying to flee to Niger a month after his father was killed in Libya’s overthrow.
Further, both were active members until 2011 revolution when WEF ‘suspended’ Saif from YGLs. See our PDF: WEF YGL Active Members 2010 (“A” for Akhavan and “G” for Gaddafi) From 2006 to 2011, both were “Active Members” in an organization that encourages abet demands networking among these active members in their organized seminars. ‘We do this in formal ways, through education modules at, for example, the Harvard Kennedy School and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, with inspiring leaders who show YGLs the path they have walked.’ From the YGL site:
The Forum of Young Global Leaders has three objectives:
Collaboration: to build a diverse global community of peers who engage in networks and processes that look for forward-looking and innovative solutions to the problems faced by humankind
Learning: to transform the next generation of leaders through personal experiences that build knowledge and engender better understanding of global, regional and industry agendas
Action: to positively impact global challenges by engaging YGLs in initiatives and workstreams related to specific challenges they have identified
Is there is an air of impropriety as a question of prior familiarity to Saif Gaddafi manifests?
Again, Payam Akhavan has personal links to Saif Gaddafi’s close friends. Payam Akhavan, Libya’s ICC Lawyer has a friend who is “a very close personal friend and confidant of Saif Gaddafi.” As Akhavan advises Libya at the ICC on how to keep Saif in Libya, his friend Mishana Hosseinioun, files endless petitions to the same court to help facilitate Saif removal from Libya. She is working actively by writing letters such as the January 2013 letter to the Libyan Minister of Justice or by promoting Saif’s cause to international organizations such as the African Court of Human and People’s Rights. She revealed her friendship with Payam Akhavan in an interview on January 21, 2013 to Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc in an article entitled Justice For All: Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi V. Libya, Part 1.
Other George Soros links to consider:
- Payam Akhavan is the co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre which is supported in part by a grant from the Open Society Foundations. George Soros’ is Saif most enduring benefactor and this is Soros’ omnipresent charity. See page 3 of this document.
- There are several links to Mishana Hosseinioun discussing Saif’s issue: one on an overtly pro-Gaddafi website and another on the BBC.
- Mishana Hosseinioun also writes for OpenDemocracy, an organization offshoot of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. As we know Soros’ is one of Saif’s most enduring benefactor. In these two openDemocracy articles (here and here) there is no mention of Libya even though the topics were the Arab Spring and democracy and human rights.
Should the above exclude Payam Akhavan from advising Libya about Saif? The fact that Payam Akhavan has a friend, who is overtly helping Saif Gaddfi to leave Libya and the question of his own prior acquaintance with Saif, should be open to evaluation.
Is there is evidence that Matrix Chambers has been offering questionable legal advice?
1. Although Libya has since discarded the advice, in 2012 Matrix lawyers publicly recommended at the time that Libya not try Saif on murder charges.
Matrix Chambers advised Libya to try Saif on financial charges rather than charges of crimes against humanity or murder which Libyan law covers. “Saif al Islam escapes from the Gallows” reads:
وعلى الرغم من ان عقوبة الاعدام لاتزال سارية في ليبيا، يؤكد المسؤولون في العاصمة الليبية طرابلس أن أياً من التهم الموجهة إليه لا ترقى لمعاقبته بحكم الاعدام، كما ان التغيير المتوقع في القانون قد يعاقبه بالسجن مدى الحياة كأقصى عقوبة محتملة.
Despite of the death penalty is still in force in Libya, officials say in the Libyan capital Tripoli that none of the charges against him were up to the punishment by death, and the expected change in the law may punish him to life imprisonment at the latest possible prosecution.
Another article stipulates that Philippe Sands recommended that Saif should be tried only on financial charges that occurred prior to the revolution.
وقال مندوب ليبيا لدى المحكمة الجنائية الدولية المستشار أحمد الجهاني إن المحور الرئيس الآن في التحقيق الليبي هو الشق المتعلق بالمال، مشيراً إلى أن “المحققين يركزون على مسألة الجرائم المالية، بعد أن أدركوا مدى ضخامة هذه القضية في ما يتعلق بسيف”. وأضاف: “من الضروري أن يتم اكتشاف طريق الأموال قبل فوات الأوان وضياعها”.
وتريد المحكمة الجنائية الدولية أن يمثل القذافي للمحاكمة في لاهاي بتهمة ارتكاب جرائم حرب وجرائم ضد الإنسانية، وهو خيار أشار القذافي إلى أنه يفضله. وفي شريط صدر الأسبوع الماضي عن أحداث ما قبل سقوط القذافي، سمع سيف الإسلام على ما يبدو وهو يطلب إعدام المعارضين لنظام والده في قاعدة عسكرية.
The translation: The Libyan authorities have hired three lawyers WCW, including Philippe Sands and Michelle Butler of “The Matrix Chambers” in London, for the argument that Gaddafi must remain in Libya.
Sands wrote that one of the ways in which the Libyan government approved the request for payment trial Saif al-Islam in Libya is trying to say that Gaddafi’s financial crimes occurred before the intifada and are therefore outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
At the time, Ocampo contradicts Matrix’s conclusion of the validity the same evidence for Saif’s punishment. In May 2012, then ICC Prosecutor José Luis Moreno Ocampo commenting in the Aljazeera’s Studio about the Libya on Line audio tapes said that if the 2011 tapes are authenticated, Saif’s ordering of the “liquidating” of Libyan civilians appears to be a war crimes. If experts such as Ocampo consider that such pertinent evidence is a war crime and/or murder, we have to ask why would the Matrix team advise Libya to try Saif ONLY on pre-revolution financial crimes?
2. Did Matrix Chambers’ members, human rights lawyers in a specialized human rights firm bound by Legal Codes of Conduct in their respective jurisdictions inform the Libyan government that it may CANCEL of the ICC investigation through diplomacy? In a November 20, 2011 CBC televised interview, or our copy, Payam Akhavan SAID that the ICC investigation was brought by the Security Council and could be withdrawn by the Security Council “in deference to the Libyan government” and therefore the ICC prosecutor “would have no leg to stand on…” to proceed with the investigation. Start with 3:28 of video.
If Libya’s legal representatives Matrix Chambers’ Phillip Sands, Michelle Butler or Payam Akhavan PROVIDED PRECISE ADVICE to the Libyan Government of their right enshrined in Article 16, why didn’t the Libyan Government choose this simple, effective option to cancel the ICC investigation?
This solution is Libya’s legal right.
Mr. Belhadj, I hope this discourse will help you to reconsider your legal representation. In conclusion, is the issue of Matrix Chambers rife with questions of legality, ethics, cronyism and the appearance of impropriety? Are there connections to the old regime, specifically Saif? Consider Phillipe Sands in-laws’. Are there personal/financial/professional connection to Saif’s most enduring sponsor? Or consider Tony Blair’s connection to the Gaddafis. Or regard Libya’s lawyer Payam Akhavan and his friend, the “very close personal friend and confidant of Saif Gaddafi.” Payam Akhavan is appointed to file petitions to keep Saif in Libya while his personal friend files petitions to help release Saif from Libya. Is this a conflict of interest?
Consider what is by international standards a conflict of interest as both sides of the ICC case are handled by the same firm. Or contemplate the possibility of a breach of confidentiality with the ICC case. Opposing sides of the ICC case are working within the same physical proximity of their office: sharing communal staff, facilities and networks. Next, the fact that members of Cherie Booth’s law firm are advising the plaintiffs and helping to settle the case where members of her husband Tony Blair’s government is implicated. Is it the worst kind of conflict of interest by international standards that this law firm within two separate cases represent both the victims and the man who tortured them? Considering the video documentation of Abdullah Senussi taunting and threatening Sami al-Saadi and YOU, Abdel Hakim Belhadj with “having your throats slit”.
A friend of the New Libya
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An Open Letter to Abdel Hakim Belhadj and the Libyan People