ICC says Libya has obligation to surrender Seif al-Islam

19th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya has an obligation to surrender Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, a spokesman for the International Criminal Court said Saturday, but he did not exclude the possibility of a trial in Libya.

"The Libyan authorities have an obligation to cooperate with the court, including with respect to the arrest and surrender of Seif al-Islam to the court as indicated in the UN's resolution," Fadi El-Abdallah told AFP.

But he added: "If Libyan authorities believe that a trial at national level is a better solution, they can ask that the case not be admitted in The Hague, based on the court's complementary principle."

"If they want a trial in Libya, they must submit a request for dismissal and procedures in Libya must be conducted on the same charges as those contained in the warrant of the ICC," he said.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will travel to Libya next week for talks with the transitional government on the arrest of the 39-year-old Seif, Kadhafi's one-time heir apparent.

"He will be going to Libya during the next week as part of the coordination effort with the Libyan authorities," his spokeswoman Florence Olara told AFP.

"We are coordinating with the Libyan Ministry of Justice to ensure that any solution in regards to Seif al-Islam's arrest is in accordance with the law."

Seif was arrested in southern Libya, a senior National Transitional Council official said Saturday, after three months on the run.

The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Kadhafi, Seif and Kadhafi's security chief Adullah al-Senussi, accusing them of crimes against humanity during the crackdown against Libyan protests.

The ICC's jurisdiction is complementary to that of national courts, and it can only act when a member state is unwilling or unable to do so.

Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council earlier this month that his office was in contact "individuals linked to Seif al-Islam" to negotiate the terms of his surrender.

Seif's representatives have asked questions such as what would happen to him if he appeared before judges and the various conviction and acquittal possibilities, the prosecutor told the 15-member Security Council on November 2 after it had referred the Libya case to the ICC.

The court had replied that Seif could request the judges not to order his return to Libya after any conviction. Judges could also order him extradited to another state, the prosecutor said.

Seif is accused together with his late father with orchestrating a plan to put down the Libyan revolt by "any means necessary" since it was sparked in mid-February.

This included the murder of hundreds of pro-freedom Libyan protestors and injuring hundreds of others when security forces shot a crowds using live ammunition, as well as the arrest and torture of numerous others.

© 2011 AFP

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