Tribunal in The Hague calls on Libyan authorities to deliver Saif al-Islam Gaddafi rather than hold their own trial

Hand over Gaddafi son, international criminal court tells Libya

Associated Press

    Saif Gaddafi in the custody of rebel fighters after his capture in November 2011
    Saif Gaddafi in the custody of rebel fighters after his capture in November 2011. Photograph: Reuters

    The international criminal court has told Libyan authorities to surrender former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is wanted in The Hague for crimes against humanity.
    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was arrested in November by rebel fighters in Libya’s remote southern desert while trying to flee to neighbouring Niger and has been held largely incommunicado since then.
    He was indicted in June along with his father and the Gaddafi regime’s intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, for killing and persecuting civilians in the early days of the uprising that eventually brought down Gaddafi’s four-decade-long dictatorship.

    Libyan authorities say they plan to put Saif on trial and despite requests from The Hague have so far taken no action to hand him over.

    In a written ruling published on Wednesday, judges at the ICC rejected a request by Libya to postpone handing over Saif and urged the country’s rulers to “proceed immediately with the surrender”.

    Human Rights Watch urged Libya to act on the order. “It is imperative that Libyan authorities start preparing to surrender Saif al-Islam,” said Liz Evenson, senior counsel with the group’s international justice programme. “This is what co-operation with the court means.”

    Saif’s father was indicted by the court but killed by rebel fighters in October.

    Prosecutors were praised for their swift action last year in indicting Gaddafi, Saif and Senoussi but the court’s efforts to try Libyan war crimes have been stymied by Gaddafi’s death, Libya’s refusal to surrender Saif and uncertainty over the fate of Senoussi, who was arrested in Mauritania last month.

    Libya has said it wants to try Senoussi. France also wants to put him on trial for the 1989 bombing of a French airliner.

    Libyan authorities have told the ICC they plan to challenge its jurisdiction in the case but judges in The Hague say until that challenge is filed the authorities in Tripoli remain under obligation to surrender Saif.

    Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court’s chief prosecutor, said “the good thing here is one year ago Saif Gaddafi was threatening people … now he’s arrested and the court is discussing his destiny”.

    “Libyans I’m sure they will accept it or appeal or debate it, but they will engage the court to have the court make the final decision. So that is showing how the world changes in 10 years.”

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