Last updated: 18 May, 2012

Lawyer doubts Libya ‘able or willing’ to try Kadhafi son Seif al-Islam

A lawyer for Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam said Friday he doubted Libya was able or willing to try his client, as he asked the International Criminal Court to report the matter to the UN.

Xavier-Jean Keita, the defence lawyer appointed by the ICC, said in papers before the Hague-based court that despite several requests to meet Seif, Libyan authorities so far have not cooperated.

“Either they are stonewalling because they are concerned about what he might say to his council… or, they simply do not have the capacity to implement the visit,” Keita said.

“Either conclusion undermines their assertation that they are either willing or able to conduct proceedings against Mr Seif al-Islam.”

Libya has been at loggerheads with the ICC over who has the right to bring former regime figures such as Seif and the dead dictator’s spymaster, Abdullah Senussi, to justice.

Both Seif and Senussi are wanted by the Hague-based court for crimes against humanity committed in trying to put down Libya’s bloody revolt last year.

Tripoli in early May officially asked the ICC’s judges to quash a surrender request and throw out the case, saying Seif would be put in a Libyan dock.

In order to challenge Tripoli’s request, Keita said ICC defence lawyers have asked to see Seif to consult — but to no avail.

“Multiple defence requests have been met with continued obfuscation and prevarication,” Keita said, adding that Seif’s defence were unlikely to take instructions from him before a June 4 deadline to file a challenge to Tripoli’s request.

“The defence for Mr Seif al-Islam respectfully requests the honourable pre-trial chamber to report the non-compliance of Libyan authorities to the Security Council,” he added.

He also asked ICC judges to stay Libya’s admissibility challenge “due to Libya’s non-compliance with the implementation of the fundamental rights of the defence.”

Seif, 39, has been in custody in the Libyan militia town of Zintan since his arrest on November 19 last year, in the wake of the uprising that toppled his father’s rule after more than 40 years in power.