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Libya pressed on war crimes trials

Nov. 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The new government in Libya needs to ensure it is cooperating with the international courts on crimes committed by the former regime, a rights group said.

Members of the Libyan National Congress last week approved of the Cabinet presented by Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan. Human Rights Watch called on the U.N. Security Council to send a message to the new government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.

The rights group noted that Libyan authorities have yet to hand over former regime officials to the ICC. Tripoli, in a war crimes case against Moammar Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, maintains it has the ability to prosecute former regime officials in national courts.

"The Security Council gave the ICC jurisdiction to investigate and ordered Libya to cooperate," said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement from New York. "Council members should make clear that Tripoli may not ignore its legal obligations."

Lawyers for the Libyan government told the ICC last month that Saif al-Islam was in rebel custody in western Libya and would be transferred to Tripoli to face trial there.

The U.S. State Department last month called on Tripoli to investigate alleged crimes outlined in a HRW report describing the summary executions of loyalists to Moammar Gadhafi, who died after falling into rebel hands in October 2011.

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