Libya promises ICC Gaddafi's son will get a fair trial

THE HAGUE Tue Oct 9, 2012 10:22pm IST

Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya November 19, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar El-Darwish

Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya November 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar El-Darwish

Related Topics

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Libya can guarantee the son of its former dictator a fair trial, Libyan government lawyers said on Tuesday at a hearing on whether Saif al-Islam Gaddafi should face justice at home or at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

ICC judges will rule whether Libya is capable of properly trying the man once seen as Gaddafi's heir-apparent or whether it should extradite him to the Hague.

If ICC judges rule Libya is unable to give Saif al-Islam a fair trial, the court has no power to force Libya to comply. But Libya would then be in violation of international law and the will of the United Nations Security Council.

Counsel for the Libyan government, Philippe Sands, told the first day of the two-day hearing at the ICC there was no truth in accusations by ICC defence lawyers that Gaddafi's son had been physically mistreated by Libyan authorities.

British-educated Saif al-Islam was caught in the Libyan desert in November and the international court's prosecutor has charged him with crimes against humanity committed during the uprising that toppled his father.

But Melinda Taylor, the ICC-appointed defence lawyer who was detained in Libya in June along with three colleagues for almost a month, told the court the Libyan government's claims "bore no relationship to the facts on the ground".

"The Libyan government has tried to turn it round by accusing the defence of making false allegations," she said.

Sands had earlier warned the court to treat with "caution" any claims made by the defence.

But Taylor warned the court not to trust the Libyan government. She had trusted Libya's assertions that her privilege as an attorney would be respected, she said, and "as a result, counsel ended up spending 26 days in jail".

Another issue for the court is that Libya practices the death penalty, though lawyers for the Libyan government said it was only carried out in exceptional cases.

An ICC prosecution lawyer said on Tuesday she was content with Libya's investigation, saying it covered more allegations than the ICC's own.

"The job of the prosecutor is not to push to the front and elbow aside states which are genuinely willing and able to prosecute crimes," said prosecutor Sara Criscitelli.

Libya had said it would put Saif al-Islam on trial in September but later said this would be delayed by five months in order to include information obtained from the interrogation of former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

Libya needs time to carry out a thorough investigation of Saif al-Islam's alleged crimes in order to try him fairly, Sands said.

"We are aware from many other parts of the world what such a rushed trial can lead to," he said.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Jon Hemming)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Islamic State

Islamic State

Iraqi security forces and Kurds gain ground against Islamic State  Full Article 

Brazil Votes

Brazil Votes

Brazil votes in tight presidential runoff split along class lines  Full Article 

School Shooting

School Shooting

Washington state teen shooter's family living in 'nightmare'   Full Article 

Canada Attacks

Canada Attacks

Canadians flock to Parliament Hill, site of attack on soldier  Full Article 

Abe's Ratings

Abe's Ratings

Japanese PM Abe's public support slumps in wake of resignations - poll  Full Article 

New World Record

New World Record

Google executive sets new stratosphere skydive world record  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage