Libya fired the latest salvo Tuesday in a legal battle over the trial of Moamer Kadhafi’s son, officially asking world war crimes court judges to quash a surrender request and throw out the case.
“The Libyan government requests the Chamber to declare the case inadmissible and quash the surrender request,” Libya’s lawyers said in a document, filed before the International Criminal Court.
Tripoli and the ICC have been at loggerheads since Seif al-Islam’s capture in November last year over where he should be tried, with Libya arguing it could put him in the dock before a local court.
But the ICC had issued an arrest warrant in late June last year against Seif and ex-Libyan security boss Abdullah al-Senussi and it wants to see them tried in The Hague. A third warrant for the late Libyan strongman was nullified after Kadhafi was killed by rebel forces in October 2011.
The new Libyan government said earlier it would file official papers by April 30 before the ICC to spell out reasons why Seif should be tried at home.
“Denying the Libyan state and its people the opportunity to carry out national proceedings, in accordance… with the Libyan law, would likely mean no state emerging from conflict could ever benefit from the complementary principle,” Libya’s lawyers said in the document.
Libya is referring to the ICC’s jurisdiction that is complementary to that of national courts, enabling it to act only when member states were unwilling or unable to do so.
Tripoli’s stance also got support Monday from the Arab League which said in a statement in Cairo: “The Libyan government has repeatedly assured that all conditions … would be met to organise a fair and impartial trial on its territory.”
On April 6, Libya had filed an appeal against the ICC’s request for the immediate transfer of Seif, wanted for crimes against humanity by the court. But the ICC has rejected the Libyan appeal.