By Dominique Soguel
By Dominique Soguel
TRIPOLI, April 10, 2012 (AFP)
Libyan officials said on Tuesday that they are ready to put on trial remnants of the previous regime, including Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. “We are ready to carry out the trials of members of the former regime, be it those who are in the country or those who will be extradited,” Deputy Justice Minister Khalifa Ashur told journalists in Tripoli. Libya is at loggerheads with the International Criminal Court over who has the right to bring former regime figures such as Seif-al Islam and the dead dictator’s spymaster, Abdullah Senussi, to justice.
“The International Criminal Court issued their arrest warrants during a warwhen our justice system was in shambles,” said Ashur in reference to last year’s conflict, adding that local courts are now ready to process such cases. The ICC wants Seif al-Islam in The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity for his role in battling the uprising against his father, but Libya’s new government wants to try him at home.
Ashur said that he had recently visited Kadhafi’s son, who has been held by a militia in Zintan, 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of Tripoli since his capture last November, and found him to be doing “well.” He said his ministry is paving the way for Seif al-Islam’s transfer to an official detention centre in the capital where he will be tried by Libyan judges — a move that runs counter to the protests of rights groups.
Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib said international monitors were welcome to attend and oversee the legal proceedings. “What we are trying to do is get to the point where we are reflective of the future Libya which has every respect for human rights,” he said. The country is still working towards the extradition of ex-spy chief Senussi, who was detained last month in Mauritania and is wanted by France as well as by the International Criminal Court, the officials said.
Rights groups and analysts see the re-activation of the judiciary and the disarming of militias as critical steps for a smooth transition to elections in Libya, which is due to hold elections for a constituent assembly in June. An estimated 8,000 detainees are being held by militias across the country, some of them in secret detention centres where they are subject to torture and other violations, rights groups say.
Ashur said that “more than 2,600 prisoners” have been handed over to the authorities by revolutionary brigades and that the majority of former rebels are willing to cooperate on legal matters. His remarks came during a tour of a new appeals court within property which was once used as a training ground for military officers serving the former regime.