Surveillance and torture in Libya: The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the indictment of Amesys and its executives, and cancels that of two employees

xiquinhosilva from Cacau / Wikicommons CC BY 2.0

Paris, November 21, 2022 - In a ruling handed down today, the Investigative Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal cancelled the indictment of two employees of the company. However, it confirmed the indictment of AMESYS and its executives, and dismissed all the other procedural nullities invoked. It also ordered the continuation of the investigation. A promising sign for the civil parties.

Throughout the months of June and July 2021, AMESYS and four of its executives had been indicted for complicity in torture in Libya, between 2007 and 2011, for having provided surveillance technology to the Libyan authoritarian regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

"The confirmation of these indictments, which occurred almost 10 years after the opening of the judicial investigation, is a source of hope. It is now clear that surveillance companies can no longer hide behind an alleged ignorance of the potentially devastating impacts of the use of their technologies on civilian populations."

Clémence Bectarte and Emmanuel Daoud, lawyers for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and six Libyan civil parties.

"We now hope that this procedure paves the way for the first trial, in France, of a company for complicity in torture." said Patrick Baudouin, lawyer and President of the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH)

This confirmation occurs in a context of increasing responsibilisation of companies, and in particular of surveillance companies, for human rights violations. It echoes the current negotiation, within the European Union, of a directive on the duty of care of European companies. It is essential that this directive includes the activities of small companies such as AMESYS.

A complaint against AMESYS dating back to 2011

On 19 October 2011, the FIDH and the LDH had lodged a complaint against the company AMESYS, following the disclosure of information by the Wall Street Journal and WikiLeaks, which highlighted the company’s role in equipping the Libyan intelligence services with surveillance technology. Indeed, under the guise of countering terrorism, this technology was used for widespread surveillance of the population and for targeting political opponents and human rights defenders.

In 2013 and 2014, six Libyan victims became civil parties to the case, along with the FIDH and the LDH.

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