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ICC asks nations to prevent Gaddafi's son from fleeing Libya

By Yoshita Singh
November 03, 2011 15:11 IST
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The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has said his office has information that former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi may try to flee Libya with the help of mercenaries.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, in his statement to the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, said the court is urging nations to help prevent Gaddafi's son from leaving Libya.

"We are also receiving information that a group of mercenaries may be endeavouring to facilitate his (Al-Islam Gaddafi) escape from Libya. We are calling upon States to do all they can to disrupt any such operation," Moreno-Ocampo said.

The court is conducting investigation into war crimes committed during the eight-month long conflict in Libya.

Moreno-Ocampo sought to assure the UN Security Council that allegation that members of NATO forces and Libya's interim leadership National Transitional Council also allegedly committed crimes during the uprising would be impartially looked into.

"There are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces, allegations of crimes committed by NTC-related forces, including the alleged detention of civilians suspected to be mercenaries and the alleged killing of detained combatants, as well as allegations of additional crimes committed by pro-Gaddafi forces.

"These allegations will be examined impartially and independently by the office," he said.

In June, the ICC had issued arrest warrants for the now deceased Gaddafi, his son and the country's intelligence chief Abdullah Al Sanoussi for their roles in attacks against protesters and rebels during the pro-democracy movement that rose up against the regime this year.

Moreno-Ocampo had said last week that his office is in indirect contact with Al-Islam Gaddafi on his possible surrender and that his office was exploring the possibility of intercepting any plane within the airspace of a state party to make an arrest in the event of an attempted escape.

People linked to Gaddafi's son have repeatedly asked the court about the legal conditions of his potential surrender, including whether he would be sent back to Libya and what would happen if he were convicted.

"It is up to Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Al Sanoussi to decide if they will surrender themselves, remain in hiding, or try to escape to another country.

"It is up to the UN Security Council and States to ensure that they face justice for the crimes for which they are charged," Moreno-Ocampo said, adding that Al-Islam Gaddafi may request the judges not to order him to return to Libya after his conviction or acquittal.

He may also seek to be sent to a different country, provided that country agrees to receive him. If Libyan authorities decide to prosecute the two for the same crimes under investigation by the ICC, they should submit an admissibility challenge and it will be for the ICC judges to decide.

Besides collecting evidence against Al-Islam and Al Sanoussi for their eventual trial, the prosecutor's office is also continuing its investigations into gender crimes in Libya, particularly the use of rape as a weapon by Libyan forces during the conflict.

"The prosecution has collected some evidence showing that commanders gave orders to commit rape in the Western mountains area and is screening possible witnesses that indicated that Gaddafi, Al-Sanousi and other high officials were discussing the use of rape to persecute those considered dissidents or rebels," he said.

ICC will present a comprehensive report on the crimes committed in Libya its third briefing to the UN Security Council in May 2012.

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Yoshita Singh United Nations
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