By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 20 May 2015:
The trial of 32 leading members of the Qaddafi regime, including his security chief Abdullah . . .[restrict]Senussi, appears to have entered its final stage today, with a further adjournment until 26 July, when it seems that verdicts will be delivered.
Proceedings in the special courtroom in Habda prison today were, as usual, largely unclear. It was reportedly the last day on which lawyers for the accused could present their clients’ defence.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda has said that she has been assured by the United Natons Support Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) that, in the particular case of Senussi, for whom the ICC has an outstanding warrant, the trial has been fair. She has intimated that she has received information on the proceedings which confirms this belief.
Nevertheless the ICC continues to insist that Qaddafi’s son and heir apparent, Saif Al-Islam, be handed over for trial in the Hague to face much the same charges that have been levelled against Senussi. The grounds for this insistence rest in part of the assertion that Libya cannot guarantee that Saif will benefit from due process.
Senussi’s lawyers have tried unsuccessfully to argue at the ICC that their client is not receiving a fair trial in Libya and that the case should therefore be transferred to the Hague.
In the early stages of the prosecution, even though the Zintanis who captured and still hold him, refused to send Saif to Tripoli for the trial, he was joined in the proceedings by a video link. This compromise ceased to work in the summer, after the Zintanis were driven from Tripoli where their key possession had been the capital’s international airport.
Like much else about this trial, it is unclear if the case against Saif has proceeded or been put back because he cannot be present, either in person or by video. Nor has the court explained if he has had a legal team in the Habda courtroom presenting his case.
It is believed that Senussi’s London-based ICC defence team is looking forward to seeing the transcripts of the Habda trial which have so reassured ICC prosecutor Bensouda. They may well use them to explore grounds for an appeal if Qaddafi’s former security supremo is found guilty.