1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

ICC, Libya at odds over Saif

May 2, 2013

Moammar Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam has appeared in court on charges of efforts at illegal communication last June. The judge called four ICC employees accused of helping Saif, but they were absent from the hearing.

In this Friday, Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, poses during an interview in New York. Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, the only wanted member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large, was captured as he traveled with aides in a convoy in Libya's southern desert, Libyan officials said Saturday Nov 19, 2011. (Photo: Bebeto Matthews, File/AP/dapd)
Image: dapd

Two lawyers, one named by the court and the other chosen by his aunt, represented Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is facing charges of "undermining state security" for meeting four envoys from the International Criminal Court last June. Libya arrested the ICC team last June, accusing it of facilitating Saif's communications without approval. The four members finally returned home in July.

After an initial hearing in January, ICC lawyers said that in this trial in the city of Zintan, Saif was "essentially being tried for attempting to communicate with the ICC via his counsel in relation to the fact that his rights had been violated."

The ICC issued a warrant in 2011 for Saif's arrest. His capture in November that year led to a dispute between the court and the incoming Libyan government over where he would stand trail for war crimes.

The ICC representatives arrested in Libya included Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, held on accusations of carrying a pen camera and attempting to give Saif a letter from his right-hand man, Mohammed Ismail, also wanted in Libya.

‘In good conditions'

Mohamed Allagui, head of Libya's national human-rights council, said at a press conference after the hearing that Saif was being "held in good conditions in line with international standards."

Taylor, however, said that her own detention last summer proved that Saif could not get a fair trial in Libya. ICC lawyers also note that he could face death if convicted there. Libya has yet to indict Saif for war crimes, although the public prosecutor has announced plans to bring such a case to court.

At the request of the defense team, who said they had not received access to the whole file on the case, the judges decided on Thursday to adjourn the trial until September 19.

mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)