UN NEWS SERVICE
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently considering a request by the Libyan authorities to try the son of former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi in their national courts, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the Security Council today.
Earlier this month, the Libyan authorities submitted an admissibility challenge to the ICC in the case of Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi, who has been indicted by the Court, along with country’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah Al Sanousi, for their roles in attacks against protesters and rebels during the pro-democracy uprising last year.
“This is the first time in the short history of the International Criminal Court that a State is requesting jurisdiction to conduct a national investigation against the same individual and for the same incidents under investigation by the International Criminal Court,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said in his briefing to the 15-member Council.
“The challenge goes to the heart of the system of justice established in 1998 by the Rome Statute: national States have the primary obligation to conduct proceedings and the International Criminal Court’s intervention will be complementary,” he noted.
The challenge is currently before the Pre-Trial Chamber at the Court, which is based in The Hague, and the Prosecution will present its observations on 4 June.
Meanwhile, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted that Libyan authorities have said that Mr. Qadhafi has been kept in adequate conditions of detention, provided with sufficient and good quality food, given access to ICC lawyers and the option of retaining a domestic lawyer of his choosing. He has also been provided with proper medical and dental care, and not been subject to physical abuse.
The Prosecutor also reported that Mr. Al Sanousi was arrested in March by Mauritanian authorities and is the subject of extradition requests from France and Libya, as well a request for surrender from the ICC. “Mauritania shall decide,” he stated.
In addition, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo’s office continues to collect evidence in relation to a second case in Libya on gender crimes committed against both men and women.
“My Office is mindful of the sensitivity surrounding rape in Libya, and has adopted a strategy to limit exposure of victims by focusing on obtaining evidence from doctors and soldiers,” he said.
The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.
The Office of the Prosecutor is currently carrying out investigations in seven situations: the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire.