Qaddafi's Son to be Tried at Home, Leaders Say

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who was captured on Saturday, will be tried at home and not handed over to the International Criminal Court.

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Elad Benari,

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi?
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi?

Libya’s interim leaders said Sunday they will try Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, at home and not hand him over to the International Criminal Court, The Associated Press reported.

The young Qaddafi, who was set to be his father’s successor, was captured in the country’s southern desert on Saturday. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, Libya’s Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said that ex-Intelligence Minister Abdullah al-Senoussi was captured alive on Sunday by revolutionary fighters.

Fighters who were tracking al-Senoussi for two days caught up with him at his sister’s house in Deerat al-Shati, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of the desert city of Sebha, a fighter told AP.

Before al-Senoussi’s capture, the information minister said Saif al-Islam must be tried in Libya even though the country’s new leaders have yet to establish a court system.

“It is only fair for the Libyan people that he is tried here,” Shammam told AP. “Saif al-Islam committed crimes against the Libyan people. The ICC is just a secondary court, and the people of Libya will not allow Saif al-Islam to be tried outside.”

Both Saif al-Islam and al-Senoussi were indicted by the ICC in June for unleashing a campaign of murder and torture to suppress the uprising against the Qaddafi regime. The former Libyan leader was charged as well.

Meanwhile, ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told AP that Libya would have to lay out convincing arguments if it wanted to try the two men at home instead of sending them to The Hague court.

“The issue is that there is already a case before the (ICC) court,” he said. “Now Libya has a legal obligation under international law to present a challenge to say: ‘We have this suspect and he will be dealt with under our national laws.’ They will need to show that they have a serious, genuine legal system capable of functioning fairly in this case.”

After his capture on Saturday, a screenshot showing Saif al-Islam with bandaged fingers began circulating on the Internet. The fighters holding him posted a video on YouTube on Sunday, in which he was seen saying that the injury to his hand was the result of a NATO airstrike a month ago that struck his convoy.

Meanwhile, AP reported that the former rebel faction that captured Saif al-Islam is refusing to deliver him to national authorities in Tripoli, raising concern over whether he will get a proper trial.

Shammam, however, played down suggestions that a power struggle was brewing over Saif al-Islam or that the position of local officials was undermining the authority of the national leadership.

He told AP the national leadership had no objection to keeping the young Qaddafi in Zintan until a trial can be organized, but that the small town was not capable of organizing and holding the trial itself.