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Libya to defy UN by holding own trail of Saif Gaddafi: Report

Tripoli, Sun, 08 Apr 2012 ANI

Tripoli, Apr 8 (ANI): Libya will defy the United Nations by conducting its own trial of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, without handing him over to the International Criminal Court, it has emerged.

Reports by ICC lawyers have accused Libya of orchestrating a 'programme of obstruction' in efforts to bring Saif to justice in The Hague.

Under UN rules, Libya is obliged to hand over Saif to the ICC, where he is indicted for crimes against humanity.

The Libyan government is, however, determined to hold its own trial and is expected to move Saif to a specially built fortress-prison in Tripoli this week, The Guardian reports.

According to the paper, court documents show that ICC defence lawyers have been complaining that they have faced resistance and obfuscation from the Libyan authorities.

"The prosecuting authorities appear to have manipulated the status of domestic investigations in order to meet the political and strategic imperative that Gaddafi should not be transferred to the ICC," writes Xavier-Jean Keita, principal counsel for The Hague's defence office.

Keita said that during the single visit Tripoli had allowed him to make to Saif, officials told him the suspect was not being held for international crimes, but for his 'alleged failure to have licences for two camels, and cleaning of fish farms'.

When the ICC insisted that Libya make a formal request to hold the trial of Saif on home soil, Tripoli agreed to begin the process on 30 April.

According to the paper, Libya's leader, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has, however, separately announced that Saif's trial will begin by 13 April.

"It is clear that the ICC will not be in a position to render its decision on the admissibility of the case until after Gaddafi has been tried, and potentially sentenced and executed," writes Keita in documents filed with the court.

"The postponement of Gaddafi's surrender could therefore be at the cost of his life," he added. (ANI)

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