By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 11 October 2011
Libya has been authorised by the International Criminal Court to press ahead with the trial in . . .[restrict]Tripoli of Qaddafi’s former security chief Abdullah Al-Senussi.
ICC judges today upheld an appeal by Libya against the original order that Senussi be handed over for trial at the international court.
In its decision, judges said that after careful consideration, they had found that the Libyan prosecutor’s investigations covered the same ground as the ICC’s. They also noted the quantity and quality of the evidence collected against Senussi and the start of court proceedings this September. Further they lauded the efforts made to “resolve certain issues in the justice system by recourse to international assistance”.
In an oblique reference to the case of Saif Al-Islam, who is held by Zintanis who have so far refused to hand him over to state custody, the judgement said:” The Chamber’s decision took into account, holistically, the fact that Al-Senussi is not detained under State custody …” .
Zintan has said that it wants Saif tried for crimes against humanity in Zintan. It has in the meantime charged him with attempting to escape, proceedings which have delayed any move elsewhere. Saif has been arraigned in Tripoli, along with Senussi and 36 other top figures in the old regime. On 19 September opening of the pretrial hearing in Tripoli, justice officials were saying that the Zintanis would be bringing their star prisoner to the court. This did not happen. Instead Zintan issued a statement reiterating its determination that Saif should be tried in the town,
The ICC is continuing to demand that Saif be handed over to it, with court-appointed defence lawyers arguing that Qaddafi’s son cannot expect a fair trial in Libya. The 27-day detention of two of that defence team in Zintan after a meeting with Saif, in June 2012, has clearly hardened the ICC’s position on Saif.
Both the ICC prosecutor and Senussi’s ICC-appointed defence team may yet appeal today’s decision. [/restrict]