News24

ICC: Libya denies Saif trial imminent

2012-09-10 20:05

The Hague - Libya has denied that slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam faces imminent trial on charges of crimes against humanity, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Monday.

Saif has been charged with alleged crimes committed while trying to put down last year's bloody revolt that toppled his father after over 40 years in power, but the ICC wants him to be tried in The Netherlands.

In an interim report to the ICC on trial progress, Libya's post-Gaddafi administration dismissed claims from both the Libyan prosecution and the defence that Saif would go on trial this month in former rebel bastion Zintan.

Such claims are "baseless and false [and] rumours and lies," the report quoted the head of the Libyan General National Congress Mohammed Youssef al-Magariaf as saying.

The Libyan administration said it needed to form a government and name a public prosecutor before being able to say how it would proceed with the trial.

The ICC and the new Libyan administration are locked in a dispute over where Saif should be tried. His ICC lawyer has said that Saif would not receive a fair trial in Libya, where he could face the death penalty.

Libya said it wanted to submit a further report on progress towards putting Saif on trial, as well as former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi who was last week extradited from Mauritania to Libya, by 28 September.

The ICC has issued a warrant for Seif's arrest but the new Libyan authorities have insisted that he stand trial in his home country. Libya in May formally challenged the ICC's right to try the only one of Gaddafi’s sons to be held in the North African nation.

Ties between Libya and the international court hit an all time low after the June arrest in Zintan of four ICC envoys, including Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, who works with the ICC-appointed defence attorney Xavier-Jean Keita.

Saif’s warders, in a move endorsed by Tripoli, detained the delegation on suspicion of spying, notably accusing Taylor of carrying a pen-camera and a coded letter from Mohammed Ismael, Saif’s longtime right-hand man, who remains on the run.