International Criminal Court judges on Thursday, February 8, demanded that Libya hand over Moammar Qaddafi’s former spy chief Abdullah Senussi to face charges of crimes against humanity.
The late Moammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi and his spy chief were all indicted by the ICC for war crimes during the civil war that led to the fall of the Qaddafi regime in 2011.
The ICC “orders the Libyan authorities to proceed to the immediate surrender of Mr. Senussi to the court,” over his alleged role in orchestrating reprisals against the protesters during the blooding uprising, said a ruling issued Wednesday and made public Thursday, according to AFP.
“Libya remains under obligation to comply with the surrender request,” the judges said in their statement.
The ICC and Libya have been engaged in a prolonged dispute over where to try Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who has been in Libyan custody for more than a year.
The Libyan government has insisted it wants to prosecute the cases itself, as it “regards the trial of Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi as a matter of the highest national importance, not only in bringing justice for the Libyan people but also in demonstrating that the new Libyan justice system is capable of conducting fair trials (that meet all applicable international standards) in complex cases,” CNN reported.
The Libyan prosecutor general’s spokesman, Taha Baara, played down the ICC demand as “standard procedure.”
Libyan authorities filed a request on January 23 to try Senussi in Libya and “we now have eight weeks from that date to complete the file and submit the necessary documentation,” he told AFP.
If the request is turned down, Tripoli still has the right to file an appeal, Baara said. “We have a strong judicial system and the capacity.”
The ICC, which was mandated by the Security Council to investigate the Libyan conflict, issued arrest warrants in June 2011 for both Saif and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.
Lawyers for the two accused have said they will not get a fair trial in Libya.
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