x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Qaddafi's son Saif Al Islam to face trial in Libya in August

A lawyer for a son of ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi has accused Libyan authorities of showing a "blatant disregard" for the International Criminal Court by announcing they will put Saif Al Islam Qaddafi on trial in August.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands // A lawyer for a son of ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi accused Libyan authorities yesterday of showing a "blatant disregard" for the International Criminal Court by announcing they will put Saif Al Islam Qaddafi on trial in August.

In an urgent filing to the Hague-based court, British lawyer John Jones asked appeals judges to reject Libya's request to suspend an order that Tripoli surrender Saif Al Islam to the court.

Libyan authorities are appealing the international court's right to try Qaddafi's one-time heir apparent, saying that he should face justice at home, but the international court says Tripoli cannot give him a fair trial.

Mr Jones has said that Saif could be executed in Libya before the appeal is completed if he is not handed over to the court.

"The possible implementation of the death penalty in domestic proceedings would also create a grievous and irremediable consequence for Mr Qaddafi, and completely undermine the ability of the Appeals Chamber to render a determination on the appeal," Mr Jones wrote.

Libyan prosecutors said Monday that Saif, Qaddafi-era spy chief Abdullah Al Senussi - who also is wanted by the ICC - and former premier Al Baghdadi Al Mahmoudi, along with former spokesman Milad Daman, will be tried in August for crimes committed during Qaddafi's 42-year rule and the eight-month civil war that deposed him.

Mr Jones said the announcement "could only be construed as blatant disregard" for Libya's obligations to the court.

Saif Al Islam is being held by a militia in the Libyan town of Zintan.

With no national army or police in place since the fall of Gadhafi's regime, successive governments have been too weak to either secure Saif Al Islam's imprisonment in the capital, Tripoli, or put pressure on his captors to hand him over to the government. Qaddafi's son is also being tried on separate charges of harming state security.