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Libya prime minister assures fair trial for Gaddafi son

Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib on Saturday pledged that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi will receive a fair trial. A fugitive since his father's regime fell last month [JURIST report], the highest-profile son of deceased former dictator Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] was arrested [JURIST report] on Friday in the desert near the southern city of Sabha. He remains in custody in Zintan, where al-Keib trusts militia will care for him [BBC report] until legal proceedings begin. Saif al-Islam is wanted [JURIST report] by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for crimes against humanity [warrant, PDF]. Discussions regarding the location of the trial are expected to take place soon, amid concerns that attempts to try him outside of Libya could prove very unpopular. The National Transitional Council (NTC) [official website] has made statements addressing its expectations that the trial will be held in Libya.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Saturday that he will go to Libya in the next week [Reuters report] to discuss Saif al-Islam's fate. Earlier this month Ottilia Maunganidze [profile], a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies [website], wrote that the NTC must meet its international obligations [JURIST op-ed] and ensure justice for human rights violations by surrendering Saif al-Islam to the ICC. Edsel Tupaz of Tupaz & Associates and Daniel Wagner [profiles] of Country Risk Solutions wrote this month that while Libya needs a "strategically targeted court system" with a specialized war crimes court [JURIST op-ed] at its core, currently there is no avoiding "the fact that there are no domestic judicial mechanisms [in Libya] ... to enforce the voice of the ICC." Ocampo last month stated that he has evidence against Saif al-Islam [JURIST report] for his role in planning attacks on Libyan civilians. According to Ocampo there is "substantial evidence" that Saif al-Islam hired mercenaries to assist him in carrying out plans to attack demonstrators that protested the rule of his father. Libyan rebel leaders allegedly captured Saif al-Islam [JURIST report] in August, but he was free by September.

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