x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Libya denies trial of Qaddafi son is imminent

Libya has denied that the son of killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Saif Al Islam, faces imminent trial on charges of crimes against humanity, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) said yesterday.

THE HAGUE // Libya has denied that the son of killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Saif Al Islam, faces imminent trial on charges of crimes against humanity, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) said yesterday.

Saif Al Islam has been charged with alleged crimes committed while trying to put down last year's bloody revolt that toppled his father after over 40 years in power, but the ICC wants him to be tried in The Netherlands. In an interim report to the ICC on trial progress, Libya's post-Qaddafi administration dismissed claims from both the Libyan prosecution and the defence that Saif Al Islam would go on trial this month in former rebel bastion Zintan.

Such claims are "baseless and false [and] rumours and lies," the report quoted the head of the Libyan general national congress, Mohammed Youssef Al Magariaf, as saying.

The Libyan administration said it needed to form a government and name a public prosecutor before being able to say how it would proceed with the trial.

The ICC and the new Libyan administration are locked in a dispute over where Saif Al Islam should be tried. His ICC lawyer has said that Qaddafi's son would not receive a fair trial in Libya, where he could face the death penalty.

Libya said it wanted to submit a further report by September 28 on progress towards putting Saif Al Islam on trial, as well as the former spy chief, Abdullah Al Senussi, who was last week extradited from Mauritania to Libya.

The ICC has issued a warrant for Saif Al Islam's arrest but the new Libyan authorities have insisted that he stand trial in his home country. In May, Libya formally challenged the ICC's right to try the only one of Qaddafi sons to be held in the North African nation.