Saturday 20 January 2018

International Criminal Court seeks trial of Gaddafi's son

The case against the son of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for alleged crimes against humanity can proceed at the International Criminal Court, appeal judges have reaffirmed.

In a majority decision, a five-judge panel at the international court in The Hague, Netherlands, rejected Libya's appeal against a 2013 decision that Seif al-Islam Gaddafi should be handed over for trial.

Whether he will ever face justice at the court remains unclear.

Even if the embattled government in Tripoli wanted to co-operate with the court, Gaddafi is being held by a militia in the western town of Zintan which refuses to surrender him.

Libya already has begun its own trial in which he and 36 other defendants face a variety of charges linked to the violent suppression of the 2011 rebellion.

Gaddafi has appeared at hearings in the Tripoli case via video-link from Zintan.

"What we are saying is we have proceedings, they were trying to stop it and we are continuing with it," ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said of today's decision. "For the purpose of continuing with the proceedings, we request the surrender of the suspect."

The international court charged Gaddafi with murder and persecution in June 2011. Both crimes were allegedly carried out by security forces under his control during the brutal crackdown on a popular uprising that ultimately toppled his father's regime that year.

Libya argued that its courts should be given precedence, because the ICC is a court of last resort that takes cases only when countries are unable or unwilling to pursue them. But the judges ruled that the Libyan charges were significantly different to those levied at The Hague.

The appeal judges did not explicitly urge Libyan authorities to hand him over in their 96-page judgment. Human rights activists did.

Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Programme, said the decision "reinforces Libya's long overdue obligation to surrender Seif Gaddafi to The Hague for fair trial".

Mr Dicker said the United Nations Security Council should tell Tripoli to "abide by the court's rulings".

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News