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ICC asks Libya officials to explain plans to try Gaddafi son

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] asked Libyan officials Thursday to address reports that they plan to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the son of former leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], and Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profile], the former intelligence chief for Gaddafi. Libya has refused [JURIST report] to hand the two men over to the ICC, and last week announced [JURIST report] plans to try them in Libya. The lawyer for Saif al-Islam told the ICC [BBC report] that her client could not be tried fairly in Libya since the trial would be motivated by a "desire for revenge" and that the ICC would damage its reputation by permitting the trial to commence in Libya. The ICC, which issued an arrest warrant [Al Jazeera report] for Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi, made the request [AP report] one day after the lawyer for al-Senussi asked the ICC to order Libya to suspend its trial of his client on the grounds that Libya has an obligation to turn him over under the UN Security Council Resolution.

Thursday's news is the latest in the ongoing effort by Libya to try Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi nationally rather than turn them over to the ICC. In October Libyan government lawyers urged [JURIST report] the ICC to allow them to be tried in Libya and promised that the trial would be fair. In August Saif al-Islam stated [JURIST report] that he preferred to be tried by the ICC out of fear that Libya would not try him fairly. In June four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained [JURIST report] by Libyan security forces and were in custody for nearly four weeks before being released.

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