World powers urge fair trial for Gaddafi son

Britain, France and the United States all called on Libya`s new rulers to cooperate fully with the ICC.

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2011, 18:00 PM IST

Tripoli: World powers have urged Libya to work with the International Criminal Court and ensure a fair trial for Saif al-Islam, son of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi who was arrested after months on the run.

Saif, wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity allegedly committed in crushing anti-regime protests, was captured in Libya`s far-flung Saharan south early yesterday in a trap set by fighters of the Zintan brigade.

Despite assurances by Libya`s interim leaders of a "fair trial", images that emerged of Gaddafi been beaten and later felled by a bullet to the head when he was captured a month ago sparked a worldwide chorus of calls for Saif to be brought safely to justice.

Russia`s special representative for Africa, Mikhail Margelov, clearly articulated the concerns of the international community.

"We are happy that this time the new authorities in Libya did not resort to summary justice for Saif al-Islam, the son of the ousted leader Gaddafi," he said after Saif was shown alive following his capture.

Video footage showed Gaddafi`s longtime heir apparent being hauled off into captivity in a northwestern hill town after getting off a flight from the desert south where he was seized.

Libya`s interim prime minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib moved quickly to give the assurance that Saif would be brought fairly to justice.

"I reassure our people and the world that Saif, and those with him, will be given a fair trial in which international rights and norms will be guaranteed," Kib told a news conference in Zintan.

"The judicial authorities will communicate with the International Criminal Court to examine where Saif al-Islam must be tried," he said.

"Any cooperation with international institutions is welcome," he added, implying that they would like him to be tried in Libya.

Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian who headed the NATO-led air war in Libya, said a fair trial for Saif al-Islam was "critical" to show the new government`s legitimacy.

Britain, France and the United States all called on Libya`s new rulers to cooperate fully with the ICC.

The ICC issued warrants on June 27 against Saif al-Islam, as well as his father and Abdullah al-Senussi, the late dictator`s intelligence chief, on charges of crimes against humanity in crushing anti-regime protests.

A court spokesman said Libya had an obligation to surrender Saif but did not exclude the possibility of a trial in Libya.

"The Libyan authorities have an obligation to cooperate with the court, including with respect to the arrest and surrender of Saif al-Islam to the court as indicated in the UN`s resolution," Fadi El-Abdallah said.