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Libya trials could be 'Nuremberg moment': ICC prosecutor

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] said Wednesday that if Libya can conduct fair trials of alleged perpetrators during the pro-democracy 2011 uprising, the proceedings could equal the lasting impact of the Nuremberg trials, sealing the rule of law, due process and human rights for future generations. In a statement [text, PDF] to the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, Fatou Bensouda prosecutor noted that the ICC's mandate is still essential to ending impunity in Libya, given the extensive crimes committed and the challenges facing the new Libyan government after the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURST news archive] regime and the transition toward a modern democratic state. The prosecutor stressed Libya's impact on international justice:

Libya is engaged in the development of the law: irrespective of outcome, the admissibility processes underway at the ICC will set the standard for years to come for how the Court and States interact with each other regarding national proceedings. ... By conducting fair, just, and transparent judicial proceedings for all alleged perpetrators, while also continuing to respect the ICC judicial process, Libya can set a lasting example for other States.

Libya is seeking to try Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profiles] domestically rather than turn them over to the ICC. Last week Saif al-Islam made a second court appearance [JURIST report] in Zintan, Libya, but the court postponed further proceedings until mid-September in order to allow for adequate trial preparation. In April Human Rights Watch reported that Al-Senussi had been unable to speak with a lawyer or told what charges he faces during his eight-month detention, despite February's order from the ICC [JURIST reports] to Libyan officials to hand over al-Senussi so that he could meet with a lawyer. In January the ICC asked Libya to address reports [JURIST report] that it planned to try Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi. In June 2012 four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained by Libyan security forces [JURIST report] and were in custody for nearly four weeks before being released. The ICC issued arrest warrants for both men in June 2011.

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