International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters on Wednesday he believed Muammar Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi had not been captured.
Officials from Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Sunday that Senussi had been captured the day after Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam was caught, and in the same southern desert region.
Libya’s prime minister-designate, Abdurrahim El-Keeb, later cast doubt on the reports, and the NTC has since neither confirmed nor denied Senussi’s capture, though a military commander has stood by his report of the arrest. The ICC has indicted Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam and Senussi for war crimes.
“I understand he (Senussi) has not been arrested,” Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters in an interview in Tripoli.
The ICC prosecutor also said that Libya has priority to try Seif al-Islam, who was arrested last week.
“We do it when they cannot do it,” he said. “As soon they can do it, we stop. This is the system, and it’s what we are discussing here.”
“My standard, the standard of the ICC, is that it has to be a judicial process that is not organized to shield the suspect. That's it, that's it,” Moreno-Ocampo told reporters.
“The point is that for Libya, and I respect that, it is very important to do the cases in Libya. This is a right and I have nothing to say. I'm not competing for the case.”
Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the last of the former Libyan leader’s sons whose whereabouts were still unknown, was captured on Saturday in an ambush deep in the Sahara desert.
An NTC official called Seif al-Islam Qaddafi's arrest “the last chapter in the Libyan drama”.
Libyan officials have promised a fair trial but the country still has the death penalty on its books, whereas the severest punishment the ICC can impose is life imprisonment.
“I hope they do a fair trial. My point is that we are not a system to monitor fair trials. We are a system to ensure no impunity,” Moreno-Ocampo said.
“It's not my role to tell them how to hold a fair trial.”
“There are so many different traditions, it is difficult to say what is fair,” he said.