Libya wants more time to update ICC on Saif

AMSTERDAM Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:02am EST

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Libya asked the International Criminal Court to give it until January 31 to say whether Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the most prominent son of the former leader, will be surrendered to The Hague to face trial for war crimes.

The court said on Tuesday that Libya had asked for a three week extension to a January 10 deadline to provide information about Saif al-Islam. It could not meet the deadline because of the country's security situation.

The Hague-based war crimes court indicted Saif al-Islam, along with his father and Libya's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Prosecutors accuse them of involvement in the killing of protesters during the revolt that eventually toppled Muammar Gaddafi in August.

The elder Gaddafi was killed shortly after being captured alive by fighters who abused him.

When Saif al-Islam was captured in November, Libya said it wanted to try him at home.

The court wants Libya to provide an update on Saif al-Islam's situation, including his mental and physical health, and whether he is being held incommunicado.

Last month, Human Rights Watch urged the Libyan authorities to allow Saif al-Islam immediate access to a lawyer to help ensure he has due process.

Saif al-Islam would rank among the biggest names to go before the ICC if he were transferred to The Hague for trial.

Just last month, former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo appeared at the court to face charges of crimes against humanity, the first former head of state expected to be tried by the court since its inception in 2002.

(Reporting by Sara Webb)

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