A former Libyan acting prime minister during the country's liberation movement said the interest of the Libyan people should come first in any current and future dealings with the outside world.
Ali Tarhouni made his comments in reaction to reports that the Italian government Wednesday seized more than $1.5 billion worth of assets belonging to the family of former Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
The seizure followed a request by the International Criminal Court, which is seeking the extradition from Libya of Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam on charges of crimes against humanity.
Tarhouni said seizing the assets is the least punishment the Kadhafi family can get for killing thousands of Libyans and robbing the country of its oil wealth.
“Kadhafi squandered the wealth of this country for the last 42 years. So, seizing the money of this family of killers, and I emphasize killers because they killed my people, is the least punishment they should have,” he said.
The seizure $1.5 billion of assets seizure followed a request by the International Criminal Court, which is seeking the extradition from Libya of Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam on charges of crimes against humanity.
Tarhouni said the Kadhafi family should be put on public trial for the world to witness. He said the new Libyan authorities would guarantee the family a fair trial, something he said Kadhafi did not give the Libyan during the four decades that he ruled.
Despite some reports which suggest that the new Libyan government appears to be cooling relations with Italy, Tarhouni said Libya enjoys good relations with Italy.
“The Italian government stood by us. They were late, but nevertheless they stood by us. Italy has a lot of economic interests in Libya,” he said.
Tarhouni hopes the interest of the Libyan people will come first in any current and future dealings with the outside world.
“I hope that they understand that on the basis of the new relationship between future Libyan and not only the Italian government, but all of the governments, that it is about time that we take care of our own people. The interest of the Libyan people will be first,” Tarhouni said.
He also said any new contracts to be awarded should be done so with complete transparency, including publishing the contract for the public to see.
Tarhouni said he is currently involved in organizing a grassroots democratic political movement in all of Libya.
“I’m very hopeful that this effort will be the most important political movement not only now but in the future of Libya,” he said.