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ICC Agrees to Try Saif al-Islam in Libya

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague says the trial of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi can proceed in Libya.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/23/2011, 5:15 PM

Saif al-Islam
Saif al-Islam
American University in Cairo

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague has agreed to try Saif al-Islam, son of former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, in his home country.

Libya's National Transitional Council had said Sunday that they would not turn him over to the Court for transfer abroad to The Hague for his trial. The interim government was poised to announce a new Cabinet, which it did on Tuesday, hours after meeting in Tripoli with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

Luis Moreno-Ocamo told the Reuters news agency during a visit to Tripoli that he would not insist that the younger Qaddafi be transferred to The Hague for the trial.

“My standard, the standard of the ICC, is that it has to be a judicial process that is not organized to shield the suspect,” he told reporters at a briefing early Wednesday. “That's it.

“The point is that for Libya, and I respect that, it is very important to do the cases in Libya. This is a right and I have nothing to say. I'm not competing for the case.”

Saif al-Islam was betrayed to his captors by a Libyan nomad who said he was hired by Qaddafi's son to help him reach neighboring Niger in exchange for a payment of one million euros. After the younger Qaddafi was captured, fighters searched his car and found less than $5,000 in the vehicle, confirming the nomad's fears that he was to be executed at the border after helping Saif al-Islam reach safety.

Former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is also wanted by the ICC, is still at large. Libyan officials had said earlier that Senussi had been captured, but the report was false.