ICC seeks information from Libya on Seif al-Islam

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 11:30 AM
ICC seeks information from Libya on Seif al-Islam

International Criminal Court judges want to know from Libyan authorities where Moammar Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent is being held and if court officials can visit him, according to a court document released Tuesday.

Libyan authorities announced Nov. 19 that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi had been captured by fighters in the country's remote southern desert. Days later they said they plan to put Seif on trial, despite the Hague-based court having issued an arrest warrant on crimes against humanity charges.

The Hague-based court is now debating its next step and says it wants to hear from Seif himself.

In the document, judges say they want to know from Libya's new rulers "when and where" court officials could meet Seif to ask if he wants a lawyer to represent his interests at the court and "to assess his physical and mental state." It also directly asks Libyan authorities to indicate if they plan to surrender Seif to the ICC for trial.

The document says a person whose identity was not released called court officials last month seeking to have a lawyer appointed to represent Seif at proceedings in The Hague. Judges have so far declined the request as it remains unclear if Seif wants the person appointed.

The ICC charged Gadhafi, Seif and Libya's former intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, with crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the former regime's brutal crackdown on dissent that began in February. The U.N. Security Council ordered the court's investigation.

The case against Moammar Gadhafi was aborted after he was killed last month. Al-Senoussi's whereabouts are unknown.

In a letter sent to the court last month, the National Transitional Council said it "affirms that the Libyan judiciary has primary responsibility to try Seif al-Islam and the Libyan state is willing and able to try him in accordance with Libyan law." However before Libyan authorities can do that, they formally have to challenge the ICC's jurisdiction.

(This version CORRECTS Adds detail, background, byline. Corrects date of document's release from Monday to Tuesday.)