Mock Trial of Saif and Saadi Gaddafi, Abdullah Senussi, and more than 30 Former Government Officials Begins April 14

Al-Senussi, Gaddafi Show Trial to Begin Next Month

Seddik al-Sour of the Libya state prosecutor’s office announces the start of the trials on April 14 of Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gaddafi, sons of Libya’s late Leader, Muammar Gaddafi, Abdullah Senussi.

By Kevin Jon Heller

According to Lebanon’s Daily Star, Libya intends to begin the trial on April 14, just a few weeks from now:

Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, Saadi Kadhafi and Abdullah Senussi are among more than 30 officials who are to stand trial.

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi and Abouzaid Dorda are also among those going on trial from April 14, Seddik al-Sour, spokesman for the state prosecutor’s office, told a news conference.

Saadi Kadhafi, who was extradited from Mali earlier this month, is to stand trial at the same time, said Sour.

His older brother Seif al-Islam, Kadhafi is being held in the western city of Zintan who have refused to transfer him to Tripoli for the trial.

Sour said he could stand trial via video conference from his detention cell in Zintan.

There is still no evidence that either al-Senussi or Gaddafi have ever had access to a lawyer, despite Libya’s constant assertions to the ICC that the government is doing everything in its power to arrange representation for them. Can’t let a little thing like Libyan law get in the way of a good show trial. And, of course, the nice thing about a show trial is that there really isn’t any need for the defendants to prepare a defence.

It’s also difficult to avoid noting the irony of Sour’s suggestion that Gaddafi could be tried via video link — exactly what the Assembly of States Parties and the Trial Chamber (though not yet the Appeals Chamber) have said is fine in the Kenya cases. To be fair, Libya would use videoconferencing without Gaddafi’s consent, whereas the ASP’s backdoor amendment of the Rome Statute was designed to placate Kenyatta and Ruto. But once the ASP and TC proved willing to dilute the clear presence requirement in Art. 63(1) of the Rome Statute, it was only a matter of time before states began taking liberties with presence, as well.