Zintan prepared to hand over Saif Al-Islam
Tripoli, 18 April 2012:
Officials in Zintan are reported saying today they are willing to transfer Saif al-Islam Qaddafi to Tripoli and hand him over to the government providing he is not then handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
A spokesman at Zintan media centre said that the negotiations today between an envoy of NTC and local council officials resulted in an agreement on the transfer Saif al-Islam to the city of Tripoli. He said that no specific date had been set for such a handover, but stressed that Saif Al-Islam had to be tried in Libya.
The conditions should not present a hurdle. Both the NTC and the government are also determined that Saif be tried in Libya. Just over a week ago, the converted court room in a former military school in Tripoli’s Hadba Al-Khadra district where Libya will try Saif al-Islam was shown to Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib.
What comes of the Zintan offer remains to be seen. On 9 April, Zintan military council spokesman Hassan Jwaili said that Saif al-Islam would be handed over to the authorities “some time this week without conditions”. This was then confirmed by NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Hareizi who said that Saif would be transferred to Tripoli within 10 days.
Those 10 days will be up on on Friday.
Zintan thuwar have been holding Saif al-Islam, 39, at a secret location in the town since his arrest near Obari in the south west of Libya on 19 November last year.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague indicted Saif Al-Islam along with his father and Abdullah Senussi, Qaddafi’s spy master, for crimes against humanity last June.
International human rights organisations have been demanding that Saif to be handed over to be tried by the ICC. They say that he cannot receive a fair trial in Libya, a claim vigorously denied by the Libyan authorities.
The Libyans also point to the fact that under the ICC’s own rules, its authority to try someone only comes into play if the country where the crime took place is unable or refuses to try the person. That is not the case with Saif Al-Islam.