ICC, Libya jostle over Seif al-Islam
By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 19/04/12
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo began a three-day visit to Libya on Wednesday (April 18th) to discuss the fate of Seif al-Islam al-Kadhafi.
"The Libyan government will appeal the admissibility of trial before the ICC. They will file an appeal to the judges, and the decision will be for the judges," Ocampo said.
Libya has repeatedly insisted on the country's right to try Seif and other former regime members in their homeland. The interim government previously stated its intention to try Seif before the June elections.
"The interesting thing is that the ICC wants to do justice on Seif [and] Libya wants to do justice on Seif, [so] there will be justice for Seif," Ocampo added.
The ICC prosecutor was received by Abdul Aziz al-Hassadi, president of the Supreme Court, and Solayman al-Fortia, a National Transitional Council (NTC) member for Misrata, where Ocampo will later head to investigate rape allegations. The ICC official then met with NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil as soon as he arrived at the NTC headquarters.
After their talks, Abdel Jalil thanked the ICC and its chief prosecutor at a press conference, expressing his and the Libyan people's appreciation for its work bringing criminals to justice for their crimes against humanity.
"Co-operation between us will ensure a fair trial for Seif al-Kadhafi and Abdullah Senussi," Abdel Jalil said. "We will take the necessary legal actions towards that. The trial will be held at a specific date with the understanding of the court and its judges taking into consideration the Libyan people's aspirations. Seif's trial will be held as per the standards of justice in Libya."
He added that Libya did not have "any objection to international and humanitarian organisations monitoring the trial. The defendants will be tried under the principle that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty."
Seif al-Islam is currently being held by former revolutionaries in Zintan. According to Al Jazeera, "neither the ICC nor the NTC has an authority over the rebel brigade that is holding Seif al-Islam".
Regarding Abdel Jalil's recent visit to Algeria and talks about the presence of former Kadhafi regime officials in the country, the Libyan leader said that if anyone posed a threat to Libyans, whether by incitement or financing, the attorney-general would submit an application for his extradition.
As to the verification of Senussi's identity, especially as no pictures of him were given to the media, Abdel Jalil said: "We're sure that the detainee is Abdullah Senussi. A delegation from the Libyan Cabinet visited Mauritania last month, met with Senussi and verified his identity. God willing, he will be in Libya."
In response to a question by Magharebia on whether the ICC would help Libya in extraditing Senussi from Mauritania to Libya, Ocampo said that no official request had been made yet to the world court.
"It's the responsibility of the Libyan attorney-general who has full bits of evidence. He can ask for our co-operation in an official way," Ocampo said.
Ocampo is due to meet interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim El Keib at noon Thursday and will travel to Misrata on Friday to visit prisons and inspect allegations of human rights abuses. He will also see the courthouse in Tripoli and the necessary measures for Seif's trial.
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