11 December 2012

Libya Must Submit Evidence It Is Investigating Gaddafi

The Hague — The International Criminal Court has given Libya until January 23 to prove that it is conducting investigations in the case of Saïf Al-Islam Gaddafi. In A December 7 decision, ICC judges thus gave Tripoli more time to try and take back the case.

Saïf Al-Islam Gaddafi was arrested in Libya on October 30, 2011, and is being held in the southwestern town of Zintan. The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for him for crimes against humanity committed after February 2011 in Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi. On May 1, Tripoli asked the Court to allow it to try him. At the invitation of the ICC, Libya presented its arguments to the Court in The Hague on October 10 and 11, but seems not to have convinced the judges that it is investigating Gaddafi. So they are now asking for evidence.

The judges say the Libyan authorities must provide "concrete, tangible and pertinent evidence to demonstrate to this Chamber that proper investigations are currently ongoing and proper and concrete preparations for the trial are ongoing".

They ask for evidence that authorities have issued judicial investigation orders. In written exchanges with the Court, Libya mentioned witness testimonies and intercepted telephone calls but said the content of these was confidential. ICC judges want to see evidence, notably elements mentioned by Tripoli allegedly showing that Gaddafi paid mercenaries.

During the hearings in October, Tripoli said witness testimonies had been collected by "committees of volunteers"who then gave them to various authorities throughout the country. The ICC wants to see that these statements have been duly signed, dated and submitted to the public prosecutor. With regard to the intercepted 'phone calls, the Court asks whether the interceptions were legal and what authentification procedures were followed.

The ICC judges also ask Libya to say if witness protection measures have been put in place, whether Gaddafi has appeared before a judge and whether it has made progress on designating him a lawyer. In addition, they question Libya about legal reforms under way and the arrangements for transferring Gaddafi from Zintan to Tripoli. Gaddafi is held by militia in Zintan who have been refusing for the past year to hand him over to the central authorities.

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