Controversial Libyan Senussi trial to enter final phase

04 May 2015 by Chris Stephen

The controversial trial of Libya’s former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi will enter its “final” stage on 20 May, court authorities announced this week. After a case lasting just over a year, during which a Libyan civil war broke out [IJT-176], prosecutors say they are prepared to finish proceedings, the country’s Al Nabaa television station reported Sunday.  

Outside al-Hadba prison in Tripoli, where the trial of Senussi and co-defendants opened on 14 April 2014 (Photo: Chris Stephen)
Image caption: 
Outside al-Hadba prison in Tripoli, where the trial of Senussi and co-defendants opened on 14 April 2014 (Photo: Chris Stephen)

Senussi was indicted with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2011, along with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s late dictator. Two years later, Hague judges ruled Libya competent to hold Senussi’s trial, but denied permission for the trial of Gaddafi because he was held by militia in the mountain town of Zintan. 

Nevertheless, on 14 April 2014, Libya began the trial of both men, along with 36 other former regime figures, with proceedings beamed to Saif in Zintan via video link.

Since the trial started, the internationally recognized government has lost control of proceedings, having fled the capital with the onset of civil war last summer. Tripoli is now controlled by the rival so-called “national salvation” government.

There is no online record of court proceedings, which are not open to the public or televised in their entirety, and UN monitors ceased attending when they were evacuated in July. Authorities have not made clear if 20 May marks the final day of the trial or the final stage of prosecution.

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