ICC expects Libya assistance on Saif trial

2012-11-08 21:14

United Nations - The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said on Wednesday she expects the Libyan government's support and co-operation if judges rule that the son and one-time heir-apparent of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi must be tried by the war crimes tribunal - not by a Libyan court.

On the other hand, Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council that if the judges decide that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi should be tried by a Libyan court "my office will monitor those proceedings and cooperate with Libya to the extent my mandate allows".

Gaddafi was indicted last year by ICC prosecutors on charges of murdering and persecuting protesters in the early days of the popular uprising that ultimately toppled his father's regime.

He is being detained by an armed militia in the Libyan town of Zintan, and Libya's new rulers have challenged the ICC saying they want to move him to Tripoli and put him on trial.

Last resort

The 10-year-old ICC based in The Hague, Netherlands, is a court of last resort, meaning it only takes on cases from countries where authorities are unwilling or unable to prosecute defendants for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The pre-trial judges have to weigh the desire of Libya's new government to prosecute Gaddafi against their ability to do so in a nation still in post-conflict turmoil where the rule of law is being slowly rebuilt after more than four decades of neglect under his father's regime.

Bensouda told the Security Council that the judges will make a decision "in due course".

Libyan authorities have taken note of criticism from human rights organizations and Security Council members, Dabbashi said, and "are firmly determined to install the rule of law and establish a comprehensive and effective legal system".

At a hearing in The Hague in October, however, a lawyer for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi from the ICC Office of Public Counsel for Defence warned the judges that the international court's reputation will be damaged if it allows Libya to put him on trial.


Melinda Taylor said trial in Libya will be "not motivated by a desire for justice but a desire for revenge and there is no right for revenge under international law".

Bensouda cited a Libyan law granting amnesty to those who committed crimes necessitated by the revolution and encouraged the new Libyan government due to be sworn in shortly "to ensure that there is no amnesty for international crime, and no impunity for crimes regardless of who the perpetrator is and who is the victim".

Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said the amnesty law and others "are in effect spitting in the face Libya's obligation to prosecute those responsible for horrific crimes, regardless of whose side they were on".

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-11-09 08:52

    Let him be tried in the country and by the people he terrorised. They deserve it, and he certainly too!

  • tom.poe.12 - 2012-11-09 09:07

    Well if Saddam Hussein was tried in an Iraqi court, why not will the ICC respect Libya's sovreignity to try Saif in a Libyan court? Is it because Saddam needed to be executed for his secrets to go with him to the grave or vice versa?

  • UnCoverUp - 2012-11-16 17:39

    Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda needs to investigate the reported illegal detentions and possible torture of Libyan citizens by DoS/CIA clandestine operatives in Benghazi that is apparently the predicate criminal acts for Libyan militias attacking the DoS's consulate and CIA's clandestine detention center in Benghazi. CIA armed forces operations in Libya were in violation of international law and US policy articulated by US President Barak Obama in his January 22, 2009 Executive Order 13491 banning CIA from conducting or aiding and abetting the conduct of detention and torture that had been allowed by agreement between the Bush-Cheney Administration and the Gaddafi Regime prior to the 2001 Libyan Revolution. An understanding of the underlying reasons for the September 11, 2012 attacks against DoS/CIA "assets" in Benghazi like Ambassador Stevens is available to anyone, including Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and congressional representatives and senators, in DoS/CIA cables between 2004-2010 authored by DoS/CIA employees in Libya, including Stevens, that are available at and "ConocoPhillips Shareholder Proposal -- 2012" published at

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