ICC prosecutor happy for Libya to try Gaddafi son

Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:40pm GMT

By Francois Murphy

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's prosecutor said on Wednesday he was happy for Libya to try Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam instead of sending him to the Hague, and cast doubt on whether the country's former intelligence chief had been caught.

Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he hoped Saif al-Islam would get a fair trial if it is held in Libya, but the ICC's job was to ensure no defendant enjoyed impunity rather than to monitor the fairness of legal proceedings.

Moreno-Ocampo was in Tripoli for talks with officials after Saturday's capture of Saif al-Islam, whom the ICC indicted for crimes against humanity during Libya's civil war, along with Muammar Gaddafi and his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

Human rights groups and some western leaders had called on Libya to hand over Saif al-Islam to the global court, saying Gaddafi's son might not get a fair trial in his home country.

But Moreno-Ocampo appeared to support the country's new leaders in their wish to try Saif al-Islam on Libyan soil.

Asked what standard Libya had to meet to try Saif al-Islam itself, Moreno-Ocampo said the ICC would step aside as long as genuine charges were brought.

"My standard, the standard of the ICC, is that it has to be a judicial process that is not organised to shield the suspect. That's it, that's it," Moreno-Ocampo said, adding that Libya did not have to show that the trial would be completely fair.

"I hope they do a fair trial. My point is that we are not a system to monitor fair trials. We are a system to ensure no impunity," he said.   Continued...

Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya November 19, 2011.    REUTERS/Ammar El-Darwish
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.