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

THE HAGUE Tue Oct 9, 2012 12:53pm EDT

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

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 defense 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 defense 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 defense of making false allegations," she said.

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

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)

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Comments (2)
DeanMJackson wrote:
We were all witnesses to the disgusting, degrading “trial” Colonel Gaddafi received at the hands of the West, truly one of the most barbaric episodes ever seen. And whats worse, it was caught on video for all history to see what depths of depravity the West has sunk to.

When Caligula committed his deprivations he had a good excuse, brain damage after a long bout of fever. So what was NATO’s excuse?

Remember the good old days when, for instance, “barbarians” such as King Cetshwayo of the Zulus were defeated and brought to England to visit Queen Victoria? You see, the British Empire genuinely wanted to make a better world. However, the lie to the notion that today the West wants to make the world a better place was proven a lie with the barbaric treatment of Colonel Gaddafi:

“On 5th August they sailed into Portsmouth and on the 7th Cetshwayo was hosted to tea by Queen Victoria at Osborne House on the Isle of White. A week later she presented him with a silver cup with three handles (a love cup) on which was inscribed Presented to Cetywayo by Queen Victoria August 14 1882. Queen Victoria was impressed by Cetshwayo’s dignity and the manner in which he pleaded to be allowed to return to his people.

He then travelled to London where he was cheered by large crowds and escorted by Lord Granville, the Colonial Secretary, through Hyde Park, and then on to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, where he realized the strength of the Great White Queen.”

Wow, the British in London cheered King Cetshwayo! What a contrast with today’s world, where the Western populace reelects political parties that murder prisoners!

Oct 09, 2012 2:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Fuzz wrote:
These announcements are being pushed out on a monthly level.
But the indisputable fact is that Saif is being held in unknown conditions for more than a year now. Considering the fact that his father and brother were brutally tortured and murdered after falling into captivity, the view taken by ICC on the matter is peculiar to say at least.

In the end, no one really wants to deal with terrorists brought into power by NATO as long as the oil pours out on a steady level.

Oct 09, 2012 6:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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