Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi propose to hand themselves in to the International Criminal Court, a senior official with Libya’s National Transitional Council said on Wednesday.
“They are proposing a way to hand themselves over to The Hague,” Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters from Libya.
Spokesman for the Hague court Fadi El Abdallah said: “We don’t have confirmation about this now. We are trying to contact the NTC for more information.”
Saif al-Islam is wanted by the war crimes court, as was his late father. There is also a warrant out for Senussi.
Saif al-Islam has been on the run since Libyan forces overran his father’s home town Sirte at the weekend. He is thought to be somewhere near Libya’s southern border with Niger.
Mlegta said his information came from intelligence sources who told him that Saif al-Islam and Senussi were trying to broker a deal to surrender to the court through a neighboring country, which he did not name.
They had concluded that it was not safe for them to remain in Libya, or to go to Algeria or Niger, two countries where Qaddafi family members are already sheltering.
“They feel that it is not safe for them to stay where they are or to go anywhere,” Mlegta said.
In any case, they said that Niger was asking for too much money for them to stay.
In June the ICC issued arrest warrants for Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity after the U.N. Security Council referred the Libyan situation to the court in February.
All three were charged with crimes against humanity for the Libyan regime’s violent crackdown on protesters in February.
It was only the second time that the U.N. Security Council had referred a conflict to the ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court.
The Security Council referred the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region to the ICC in 2005.
Saif al-Islam was on Tuesday poised to cross into Niger along with Senussi, his father’s ex-intelligence chief, a Tuareg official said.
Niger has an obligation to co-operate in bringing to justice Libyan fugitives Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi, wanted by the International Criminal Court, a court spokesman said Wednesday.
“There is definitely an obligation on Niger to co-operate as it is a state party to the Rome Statute,” the ICC’s founding document, said Fadi El Abdallah.
But he slapped down media reports suggesting either man wanted to hand himself over to the ICC, saying he had “no information or confirmation.”
“It is something we would have to follow up with the Council,” El Abdallah told AFP, referring to Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).
The two are the most wanted fugitives from the slain despot’s ousted circle and are wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity, committed after the start of the uprising against Qaddafi’s regime in mid-February. The ICC issued arrest warrants against the three on June 27.
Both are widely expected to seek refuge in Niger following Qaddafi’s death last week.
Libya’s southern neighbor, which for years was one of the west African countries that benefited most from Qaddafi’s largesse, is already sheltering dozens of former regime officials, including another of Qaddafi’s sons.
Qaddafi, who lorded over the oil-rich north African nation for 42 years, met a violent end on Thursday following his capture by fighters of Libya’s new regime.
France may demand Senussi’s extradition if he is arrested by Niamey, since a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for the 1989 bombing of a French UTA airliner that claimed 170 lives.
So far 32 members of Qaddafi’s entourage including his playboy former footballer son Saadi have taken refuge in Niger for “humanitarian” reasons.
Also among them are three generals and the head of Qaddafi’s personal bodyguards, Mansur Daou, according to the authorities who say they are under surveillance but have not been detained.