Libya has an obligation to surrender Muammar Qaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, a spokesman for the International Criminal Court said Saturday, but he did not exclude the possibility of a trial in Libya.
“An arrest warrant has been issued by the ICC. The Libyan authorities have an obligation to cooperate with the court,” Fadi al-Abdallah told AFP.
“If Libyan authorities believe that a trial at national level is a better solution, they can ask that the case not be admitted in The Hague based on the court's complementary principle,” he added.
ICC’s prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that he will visit Libya to decide on the place to try Seif al-Islam, in accordance with the law.
In related news, the European Union urged Libyan authorities to ensure Seif al-Islam is brought to justice and fully cooperate with the ICC.
“The Libyan authorities should now ensure that Seif al-Islam is brought to justice in accordance with the principles of due process and in full cooperation with the International Criminal Court,” a statement from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.
Ashton described Qaddafi’s son’s capture as “a very significant development” given the key role he played in his father’s regime and the ICC arrest warrant against him on charges of crimes against humanity.
“Libya has begun a process of democratic transition following a painful and bloody conflict and nearly 42 years of dictatorship,” she said.
“It is important for future national reconciliation that those responsible for human rights violations committed both before and during the recent conflict are brought to justice and that the facts surrounding such violations are brought to light.”
While NATO, it voiced hope on Saturday that the Libyan authorities and the ICC would ensure that justice is served in the treatment of Seif al-Islam.
“We trust that the Libyan authorities and the International Criminal Court will ensure that justice runs its course, so that the new Libya can be built on the rule of law and respect for human rights,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.
Libyans want trial on their soil
A spokesman for Libya’s outgoing interim government said on Saturday that the captured son of the former Libyan strongman would be tried in the country rather than being sent to The Hague.
“This is the final chapter of the Libyan drama,” Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told Reuters. “We will put him on trial in Libya and he will be judged by Libyan law for his crimes.”
Seif al-Islam, like his late father, was indicted for crimes against humanity by the ICC over his alleged role in killing demonstrators after the uprising began in February. But Libyans also want to try him for previous alleged crimes.
Shammam said former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, the remaining Libyan indicted by the ICC who is still on the run, would be found in time. “We will hunt him down until we capture him or kill him,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United States has not independently confirmed reports that Seif al-Islam has been captured, a State Department official said on Saturday.
“We have seen the reports but cannot independently confirm them,” the official said.
The official added that Libyan authorities have been urged to treat all prisoners in their custody in line with international standards.