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Libyan Rulers Promise Fair Trial for Captured Seif al-Islam
20/11/2011 11:34:00
A heavily bearded Seif al-Islam aboard the plane taking him to Zintan

Libya's interim rulers want the captured son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Al Qathafi, Seif al-Islam, to stand trial in the country, while the country's interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb promised a fair trial for the prisoner who was arrested after a three-month hunt in the Wadi al-Ajal district, near Awbari in Libya's far-flung Saharan south.

With world powers urging the Libyan government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, ICC, el Keeb told a news conference in Zintan: "I reassure our people and the world that Seif, and those with him, will be given a fair trial in which international rights and norms will be guaranteed."
El Keeb promised "justice and transparency" in handling of case of former leader's internationally wanted son.

He went on to say that the judicial authorities in Libya will communicate with the International Criminal Court to examine where Seif al-Islam must be tried.

"Any cooperation with international institutions is welcome," he added. implying that they would like Seif to be tried in Libya.

El-Keeb said Seif's capture marked a "historic" day and the start of a new chapter for Libya. It came a day before the NTC was expected to name a new government and three months after Seif al-Islam was last seen in public.

"The arrest of Seif al-Qathafi crowns the sacrifices made by our great people," he said, adding: "We are going to show Seif al-Islam who we are - we are not some armed band, we are freedom-seekers."

An interim government spokesman said Seif's arrest is the "final act of the Libyan drama."

Mohamed al-Alaqi, who holds the justice portfolio, also assured the media on this. "We trust the Libyan judiciary, and that there are all guarantees for a fair and impartial trial for him," he said.

He added that he had spoken with International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and that they would discuss the issue during a visit by Moreno-Ocampo to Libya next week.

On June 27 the International Criminal Court issued warrants against Seif al-Islam, as well as his father and the former regime's intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi, on charges of alleged crimes against humanity in crushing anti-regime protests during the eight-month long uprising that ended with the ousting of Muammar Al Qathafi from power.

Fadi El-Abdallah, an ICC spokesman said Libya had an obligation to surrender Seif but did not exclude the possibility of a trial in Libya.

He told AFP: "The Libyan authorities have an obligation to cooperate with the court, including with respect to the arrest and surrender of Seif al-Islam to the court as indicated in the UN's resolution."

But he added that if the Libyan authorities believe that a trial at national level is a better solution, they can ask that the case not be admitted in The Hague, based on the court's complementary principle.

"If they want a trial in Libya, they must submit a request for dismissal and procedures in Libya must be conducted on the same charges as those contained in the warrant of the ICC," he said.

Meanwhile, Luis Moreno-Campo, the ICC's chief prosecutor said he would visit Libya this week to discuss the prosecution.

"The good news is, that Seif al-Islam has been arrested, he is alive, and now he will face justice. Where and how, we will discuss it. I know the case at the ICC, and I have to learn what they (the Libyans) have and we will discuss it. But we will be in harmony and want the Libyans to know that Seif will face justice," he said.

Britain, France and the United States, who were on the forefront in the fight to topple the former regime, all called on Libya's new rulers to cooperate fully with the ICC as a fair trial for the captive was critical to show the interim government;s legitimacy.

The 39-year-old Seif was captured by Zintan fighters early Saturday morning on the southern Libyan borders close to Sebha as he was preparing to escape to Niger. He is being held at the Zintan city until there is an administration to hand him over to. He surrendered without a fight.

On arrival at the small airport terminal of the city of Zintan, Seif, sporting a brown cloak and headdress, showed no sign of emotion as he braved the surging spectators at the airport in the mainly Berber town in the Nafusa mountains southwest of Tripoli that played such a great part in the conflict that rid the country of the former dictator.

Al-Ajmi al-Atiri, the head of the Zintan brigade which arrested Seif told a news conference that they had received a tip-off from one of Seif's bodyguards who told them he was preparing to flee to Niger.

He said that set a trap and laid in wait. They intercepted the fugitives' two 4x4 vehicles 64 kilometres out in the desert, and when two SUV cars turned up with six people in them, including Seif, they arrested them with little resistance. He added that Seif requested his captors "to fire a bullet to his head and take him (dead) to Zintan."

Ahmed Ammar, one of the 15 fighters who captured Seif told Reuters that at the beginning Seif was very scared."He thought we would kill him," said Ahmed Ammar, one of the 15 fighters who captured Gaddafi.

"But we talked to him in a friendly way and made him more relaxed and we said, 'We won't hurt you'."

When news of capture was reached the Libyan population in the major cities, it was greeted with celebratory gunfire. Later they watched him on Al-Ahrar TV channel heavily bearded and leaning on the end of a bed, with three fingers of his right hand bandaged, the result of injuries sustained in a NATO air strike during the uprising, and a blanket on his legs.
Zintan brigade fighters must be commended for the humane way they treated Seif al-Islam Qathafi. Libyan governmentís statements on the issue have also been praiseworthy. All this will go a long way in dispelling any fears lurking in any bodyís mind that Seif will not get a fair trial in Libya. The International Criminal Court, humanitarian organizations and others who might still have some reservations can send their observers to follow court proceedings and I am sure the Libyan government will not object to that.

With fears of an unfair trial removed, I think Libya is definitely a better venue for his trial because of proximity to the events, which will facilitate speedy presentation of evidence and witnesses, resulting in an early conclusion of the case.

With this convenient and sensible option available, I think there would be absolutely no justification in demands from certain quarters to try Seif in a remote and distant place in Europe where the case could drag on for months, if not years, much to every ones inconvenience.

- Karachi
I think he must be trial in libya but under the supervision of ICC,UNHuman
Rights group,along with Govt of Libya..

Dont harm him..Specially if he wont have killed any person..Why to kill him..Just be good to him.. By killing him you will be seen as cruel and cunning..But not killing him..you are showing you are better human being ...By being cruel and cunning you will be showing you are not human..Any way I liked the way zintan people handled it..It was a right way..Ciivilised..Doesnt matter wether you are educated or not..You were human.. Thats what matters..Best of luck..
Dont harm him..Specially if he wont have killed any person..Why to kill him..Just be good to him.. By killing him you will be seen as cruel and cunning..But not killing him..you are showing you are better human being ...By being cruel and cunning you will be showing you are not human..Any way I liked the way zintan people handled it..It was a right way..Ciivilised..Doesnt matter wether you are educated or not..You were human.. Thats what matters..Best of luck..
I think leaving Saif in the hands of the Libyans is a very dangerous situation, because there are enormous evidence that he can never get fair trial in Libya. Firstly, we all saw the brutal way his father and brother were killed despite being caught alive. Secondly, a good number of NTC people held important position during Gaddafi regime, and there is every chance that they would as well have skeletons in their cupboards; a fair trial is not feasible in such situation. It is very obvious that the anti-Gaddafi Libyans norture enormous hatred and bitterness towards Gaddafi and his family. Therefore, leaving Saif in such environment is very risky. Further, there are lots of evidence to assert that the Libyans have no dignity when it comes to handling of prisoners of war. On these accounts, Saif could get really fair trial only at ICC.

A fair verdict for Saif al Islam
can only be made
by a interational court in Den Haag

From Germany
I am not sure how you can so quickly conclude 'fears of an unfair trial are removed.' It has only been a couple days. Rebels had Muttasim a couple days and he showed up with a hole in his throat.
I think Seif's mind is open to humanity and doesn't look like his father...I hope fighters and the new goverment use him as a deputy. Because ı know and believe he is a democrat...Killing of him , will be the biggest mistake for Libyan future...

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