, UNITED NATIONS, Nov 3 – The international war crimes court is still negotiating surrender terms with Moamer Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, the court’s prosecutor said Wednesday.
The International Criminal Court has “received questions from individuals linked to Seif al-Islam about the legal conditions attaching to his potential surrender,” chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council.
Moreno-Ocampo highlighted fears that mercenaries were trying to help Gaddafi’s heir-apparent to escape. He added that it was possible Libya’s new government could be given jurisdiction in the case against Seif and Abdullah al-Senussi, the late dictator’s brother-in-law and intelligence chief.
The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Gaddafi, Seif and Senussi accusing them of crimes against humanity during the crackdown against Libyan protests.
Charges against Gadhafi could be formally dropped when the court gets official proof of the strongman’s killing on October 20. Seif and Senussi have not been seen since, and Moreno-Ocampo said his office was “galvanizing efforts” to bring them to justice.
Seif’s representatives have asked questions such as what would happen to him if he appeared before judges and the various conviction and acquital possibilities, the prosecutor told the 15-member Security Council which referred the Libya case to the ICC.
The court had replied that Seif could request the judges not to order his return to Libya after any conviction. Judges could also order him extradited to another state, the prosecutor said.
Moreno-Ocampo later told reporters it had been “several days” since he had been in contact with Seif’s entourage.
Libyan authorities have told the ICC that they are preparing their own national judicial process. Moreno-Ocampo said it would be for ICC judges to rule on any “challenge” for jurisdiction over Seif made by the new government.
“We are also receiving information that a group of mercenaries may be endeavoring to facilitate his escape from Libya. We are calling upon states to do all that they can to disrupt any such operation,” he added.
The ICC, with the UN sanctions committee on Libya and the international police agency, Interpol, were hunting for Seif’s assets, which could be used to compensate his victims, the prosecutor said.
Moreno-Ocampo told reporters that some of Seif’s foreign accounts, including in London, had been frozen, but that the strongman’s son still has “gold and cash” to finance his operation.
ICC investigators went to Libya last week to collect more evidence in the case against Seif and also into allegations of mass rapes by Gaddafi forces during the crackdown against protesters.
Hundreds of rapes are suspected to have been carried out, Moreno-Ocampo said.
Investigators have “interviewed a limited number of victims, who were kidnapped and raped in unknown secret detention centers,” he added.
Witnesses have indicated that Gadhafi and Senussi and other top officials “were discussing the use of rape to persecute those considered dissidents or rebels.”
Allegations of crimes have also been made against the NATO forces that conducted airstrikes on Gaddafi targets and by National Transitional Council forces “including the alleged detention of civilians suspected to be mercenaries and the alleged killing of detained combatants,” the prosecutor said.
“These allegations will be examined impartially and independently by the office,” he vowed.
Members of the Security Council who opposed the NATO airstrikes — including Russia, China and South Africa — insisted that there had to be an inquiry off all crimes committed in Libya.