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Libyans will not hand Saif Al Islam over to ICC

Published time: July 29, 2013 15:28
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (AFP Photo / Imed Lamloum)

Libyans wants Saif Al Islam’s role in plundering the country investigated, not just his involvement in the 2011 revolution. Therefore it is unlikely he would be handed over to The Hague tribunal, former UK ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles told RT.

RT: Saif Al Islam’s lawyer says that his client faces “a show trial and probable execution.” Why is he saying that?

Oliver Miles: He wants to get him to the Hague, no doubt, because if Saif Al Islam remains in Libya the outlook is very uncertain.

RT: What can the International Criminal Court do to prevent an unlawful execution in his home country? 

OM: I am not a lawyer and the legal situation is quite complicated, but I think that the fact is that Libyans will not hand him over and there are good reasons for that. Saif Al Islam could face two different sorts of charges. He could face charges relating to what happened in the revolution of 2011. That’s what he would face if he was extradited and handed over to the International Criminal Court. In addition to that, he may be charged with stealing a vast amount of money, very large assets have been frozen by the Libyan authorities. What is interesting is the International Criminal Court has no mandate to deal with any of those charges so if he were handed over to the Hague, those matters would never be investigated, and I don’t think the Libyans would accept that.

RT: The ICC did rule that he must be extradited to the Hague, so what is going to be happening? Could some sort of compromise be achieved there?

OM: I think it could. I think it’s quite possible that there will be some arrangements that he should be tried in Libya and those charges that are of interest in the International Criminal Court, that is to say charges about the happened after March 2011, the International Criminal Court would play some part in the proceedings in Libya.  What I think is politically most unlikely, in fact I would say impossible, is that he would be handed over to be tried in the Hague.

RT: Why won’t the Libyans budge on this issue, and they want Saif Al Islam to be judged in Libya so much? 

OM: There are two reasons for that. One is the obvious one that they feel this is the matter of national importance and they don’t wish to entrust it to foreigners. They don’t see any reasons to hand him over to the Hague. Also if he were handed over to the Hague there are a lot of possible charges which could never be investigated. There is another reason. His case is some ways parallel to the case of Abdullah Senussi, the former head of Libyan intelligence and brother in law of Gaddafi. He is regarded, both inside and outside of Libya, as being more responsible than anyone else, other than Gaddafi himself, for the crimes committed under the Libyan regime. By the crimes I mean above all about Abu Salem prison massacre in which 1 200 people were killed. There are also international crimes like Lockerbie, which Libya has been accused of, and the downing of a French airliner with a loss of hundreds of lives, and in the British case the murder of the policewoman in London. On all those matters the Libyans will wish to see Abdullah Senussi like Saif Al Islam face justice, but they know that if they were handed over to the ICC, he could never face charges on those crimes because if they were committed at all, they were committed before March 2011. 

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