The International Criminal Court has rejected Libya’s efforts to try the son of late leader Moammar Gadhafi. The decision marks an ongoing dispute between The Hague and the Libyan government.
The ICC said Friday it had concerns over the new Libyan government’s grasp on its judicial powers across the war torn country. Judges at The Hague have said that under international law Seif al-Islam Gadhafi must be transferred to the Netherlands court. It remains to be seen whether the Libyan government will be willing or able to transfer him.
Seif, 40, was captured trying to flee to Niger by militiamen in the aftermath of the 2011 Libyan civil war. He is currently being held in the town of Zintan and the Abu Bakr al-Sadek militia group has begun its own trial proceedings against Seif for disrespecting the country’s new flag and “harming state security.”
The ICC has said it wants to charge Seif for alleged crimes against humanity, murder and persecution relating to the Libyan government’s crackdown on the 2011 uprising, which sparked the war that overthrew his father’s regime.
Libya bid rejected
Although the Libyan government wants to charge Seif for similar charges and challenged the ICC’s bid in May last year, judges from The Hague said Friday those charges were not similar enough to warrant canceling the international case. The ICC also cited concerns over Libya’s insecure judicial institutions.
“The Libyan state continues to face substantial difficulties in exercising fully its judicial powers across the entire territory,” presiding judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi said in a written summary of Friday’s decision.
He added that “Libyan authorities have not been able to secure the transfer of [Gadhafi] into state custody and impediments remain to obtain the necessary evidence, and secure legal representation.”
Libya’s justice minister, Salah al-Marghani, commented on the ICC’s ruling, calling it “a conflict between national and international law.”
“We don’t know the details of the decision yet,” he said.
Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebel forces in Sirte, Libya in October 2011. Seif, a key member of the ruling circle, was captured a month later. His family, including his mother, sister, and two brothers, were granted asylum in Oman.
Libya is not a member of the ICC but the case was referred to the court by the UN Security Council.
dr/jm (AP, dpa, AFP)