ICC snubbed; Gadhafi to be tried in Libya

April 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, April 10 (UPI) -- Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, will be tried on murder and rape charges in Libya and not by the International Criminal Court, Libya said.

"He will be tried for rape, murder, corruption, and we expect him to be tried and a verdict rendered before the upcoming elections in mid-June," National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Hareizi told reporters in Tripoli Monday.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, demanded last week Libya give up the assassinated deposed dictator's son so he could be tried for crimes against humanity at the permanent war-crimes tribunal.

Libyan leader and council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said Gadhafi's trial would begin as early as Friday.

He did not say if the court would be civil or military, which has no appeal.

"It is clear that the ICC will not be in a position to render its decision on the admissibility of the case until after Mr. Gadhafi has been tried, and potentially sentenced and executed," chief ICC defense lawyer Xavier-Jean Keita wrote.

"The postponement of Mr Gaddafi's surrender could therefore be at the cost of his life," Keita wrote.

Gadhafi was expected to be moved this week to a specially built fortress-like prison in Tripoli from a secret cell in the small city of Zintan, 85 miles southwest of Tripoli, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

The 39-year-old London School of Economics doctoral graduate has been held largely without access to the outside world since his Nov. 19, 2011, capture by post-revolution Libyan fighters as he tried to flee to neighboring Niger. His father was killed a month earlier.

He has so far not been given access to a lawyer, family visits or even a dentist to deal with chronic toothache, The Guardian said, citing court documents.

Libyan Justice Minister Ali Ashour denied allegations by an ICC defense lawyer that Gadhafi was being mistreated.

"He eats with the people who guard him, and he is in good condition," Ashour was quoted by The Tripoli Post as saying.

Gadhafi is currently held in Libya for "alleged failure to have licenses for two camels" and for not properly cleaning fish farms.

He was charged by the ICC in June 2011 with helping to mastermind a campaign of torture, murder, rape and bombardment of Libyan rebels in the final months of his father's regime.

Also named in the June arrest warrants for crimes against humanity was former Libyan military intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, Moammar Gadhafi's brother-in law, a fugitive then but reported arrested in the West African country of Mauritania March 17.

A U.N. Security Council resolution requires Gadhafi be delivered to the court, and ICC judges urged Libya's rulers Wednesday to "proceed immediately with the surrender."

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