Kyrgyz president cries double standard after Gaddafi asset freeze

by Katherine Baldwin | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 2 March 2011 20:55 GMT

Why wasn't the world as quick to freeze the assets of Kyrgyzstan's ousted leader, she asks

PARIS (TrustLaw) – World leaders are guilty of a double standard in their different treatments of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Kyrgyzstan's ousted leader and members of his “clan”, the head of the Kyrgyz Republic said on Wednesday.

After several countries froze the assets of Gaddafi and lifted his diplomatic immunity, Kyrgyz Republic President Roza Otunbayeva asked why they had not done the same with the family of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and members of his regime.

Bakiyev fled to Belarus following his overthrow last April amid turmoil in the poor, Central Asian ex-Soviet state in which, Otunbayeva said, 87 people were killed.

That unrest then triggered the worst ethnic violence in the country’s modern history in which hundreds of people died. The Kyrgyz Republic blames Bakiyev for the violence.

Otunbayeva asked why the international community had not treated Bakiyev and his “authoritarian family clan” in the same way it was now treating Gaddafi.

“A year ago, it was not defined as unacceptable or outrageous,” she said of the violence in her country, speaking in Paris at a conference on transparency in the extractive industries.

“Unlike today in Libya, no assets or bank accounts of Bakiyev’s big clan members have been frozen. All our attempts to bring to accountability and our requests for extradition from Western countries have been ignored.

“Moreover, because of the significant investments they (Bakiyev and family members) bring with them into the wealthy countries, stolen from ours, they give them asylum seeker status or citizenship.

“If it is the case with Gaddafi’s family today, why isn’t it the case with Bakiyev’s family?” she asked of the actions being taken against the Libyan leader.

The United Nations imposed travel and asset sanctions on Gaddafi on Sunday and many countries have moved to freeze his assets and lift immunity.

The Kyrgyz Republic on Wednesday achieved compliance under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global standard that aims to stamp out corruption in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

Under the initiative, companies agree to publish what they pay and countries agree to disclose their revenue from extractive industries.

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