News / Africa

Libya to Discuss Trial Arrangements for Gadhafi Son with ICC

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is pictured sitting in a plane in Zintan, Libya, November 19, 2011.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is pictured sitting in a plane in Zintan, Libya, November 19, 2011.

Libya’s transitional government is preparing for talks with the International Criminal Court about where to hold a trial for Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the captured son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo says he will travel to Libya in a week to discuss arrangements for the trial.

Libyan militiamen from the western town of Zintan captured Seif al-Islam before dawn Saturday in the country’s southern desert. Libyan transitional authorities later chartered a transport plane to fly him to Zintan.

Some Libyan officials have said they want the former heir apparent of Moammar Gadhafi to be tried in Libya.

The Netherlands-based ICC issued arrest warrants for Seif al-Islam, his father, and the late dictator’s intelligence chief in June, charging them with crimes against humanity for violently suppressing a pro-democracy uprising.

Libyan transitional fighters captured and killed Moammar Gadhafi in his hometown of Sirte on October 20. The former intelligence chief remains at large.

Libya’s transitional Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib visited Zintan on Saturday and praised the capture of Seif al-Islam as marking a new chapter for the country. Transitional forces launched the uprising in February and drove the senior Gadhafi out of Tripoli in August, ending the dictator’s 42-year rule.

Libyans celebrated Seif al-Islam’s capture with gunfire in Tripoli and other cities.

In a statement Saturday, the U.S. State Department said the capture and trial of Seif al-Islam “would be another step away from a 40-year dark chapter in Libyan history” and help the Libyan people achieve “the peaceful and democratic future they deserve.”

Washington also urged Libya to treat all prisoners humanely and in accordance with international standards. Transitional fighters who seized Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte were seen beating him before he died, prompting international concern about his treatment in custody.

The Libyan militiamen who captured Seif al-Islam say they got a tip that he would be traveling in a convoy on a desert track west of the Libyan town of Obari. They say they intercepted two vehicles in the area and identified Seif al-Islam before detaining him and several associates without a fight.

Photographs of Seif al-Islam after his capture showed the 39-year-old with a thick beard and wearing brown robes and a turban in the style of ethnic Tuaregs. Several of his fingers were bandaged due to injuries he said were sustained in a NATO airstrike. Journalists who flew with him to Zintan said he otherwise was in good condition after several months on the run.

Seif al-Islam’s appearance marked a transformation from his former image as an internationally-respected, British-educated reformer in his father’s autocratic government. He had become one of Libya’s and the world’s most wanted men for supporting Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown on the uprising.

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