THE HAGUE, Feb 7 – International Criminal Court judges on Thursday demanded that Libya hand over Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief Abdullah Senussi to face charges of crimes against humanity.
The latest broadside in the legal tug-of-war between The Hague-based ICC and Tripoli over where Senussi and Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam should be tried repeated a demand for Senussi to be handed over.
The ICC “orders the Libyan authorities to proceed to the immediate surrender of Mr Senussi to the court,” said a ruling issued on Wednesday and made public on Thursday.
The ICC has the option of calling on the United Nations Security Council to take action.
The ICC is mulling a Libyan request to put Senussi and Gaddafi on trial there, while the ICC itself wants to try Gaddafi and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity committed in the conflict that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The Libyan prosecutor general’s spokesman, Taha Baara, played down the ICC demand as “standard procedure.”
Libyan authorities filed a request on January 23 to try Senussi in Libya and “we now have eight weeks from that date to complete the file and submit the necessary documentation,” he told AFP.
If the request is turned down, Tripoli still has the right to file an appeal, Baara said. “We have a strong judicial system and the capacity.”
The ICC, which was mandated by the Security Council to investigate the Libyan conflict, issued arrest warrants in June 2011 for both Seif and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.
Lawyers for the two accused have said they will not get a fair trial in Libya.