26 July 2013

Libya Determined to Try Seif Al-Islam

Tripoli — Tripoli and the International Criminal Court (ICC) are pursuing their legal tug-of-war over where Moamer Kadhafi's son should stand trial.

Seif al-Islam is accused of committing crimes against humanity during the Libyan revolution. The ICC also wants to try Kadhafi's brother-in-law and former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi on the same charges.

"Seif al-Islam Kadhafi is being detained in Zintan by order of the General attorney," Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said on Wednesday (July 24th) at a press conference.

"He will be transferred to Tripoli to stand trial," he added.

On July 18th, the ICC rejected Tripoli's request to keep Kadhafi's son in Libya for trial, AFP reported. The Hague-based court added that Libya remained "obliged" to hand over Seif al-Islam.

The Libyan government "will again appeal the ICC decision as soon as Seif al-Islam is transferred" to Tripoli, according to Ahmed al-Jehani, Libya's representative to the ICC.

"The ICC decision is based on Seif al-Islam's detention in Zintan and not under the control of the judicial authorities in Tripoli," he said. "This (ICC) decision is not final. Libya's right to try Seif al-Islam is linked to his transfer to Tripoli."

"We will appeal the Court's decision as soon as we meet the three demands expressed by the ICC: the transfer of the accused Seif Kadhafi to the city of Tripoli and the appointment of lawyers for Seif Kadhafi and Abdullah Senussi," al-Marghani said.

He pointed out that the investigation would be handled by the Public Prosecution.

"The provision of lawyers, we are working on that as well as on several different investigations other than rape and murder," al-Marghani added.

Last month, Libyan prosecutors said Senussi, Seif al-Islam and other former regime officials would stand trial in August.

"Not transferring Seif Kadhafi to an official prison that is part of the judicial police and under the authority of the General Attorney in Tripoli is the reason behind the ICC's decision," Secretary-General of the Libyan branch of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights Abdel Moneim al-Horr said.

Al-Horr explained, "Article 13 (b) of the ICC allows the court to exercise its jurisdiction in the case of a referral by the Security Council - as in the Libyan case - and to initiate investigations."

Al-Horr advocated the creation of "a joint tribunal between the Libyan judiciary and international justice, provided that the court be held on the Libyan territory.

Many Libyan citizens called for Seif al-Islam's trial to happen in their country.

"If Seif, Kadhafi's son is transferred to the ICC, they will undoubtedly find him not guilty and not execute him," school teacher Mahassen Bin Mahmoud said. "This is not a punishment for one who incited to murder, rape, waste of public money, corruption and other issues."

"The trial of Seif should be held in the capital and he should be put in a prison with Senussi and other officials from the former regime," lawyer Salem Khair said.

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