ICC prosecutor says Libya is providing a fair trial for Senussi despite chaos

25 February 2015 by Chris Stephen

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor ruled that despite civil war in Libya and militias storming the capital, she has no reason to think the country’s former intelligence chief is getting an unfair trial.

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)

In a decision surprising to some human rights groups, who say judges are being intimidated and a defence attorney shot and wounded, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declined requests from lawyers of Abdullah al-Senussi to ask judges to review their decision to let Libya try the case.

Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s former spy chief, was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC in 2011, blamed for oppressing rebels during Libya’s Arab spring. Two years later, Hague judges ruled Libya was “able and willing” to give him a fair trial, allowing Tripoli to take the case.

But since then, civil war broke out. The Libya Dawn militia coalition captured Tripoli. And the recognized government fled to the eastern city of Tobruk, declaring it lost control of judicial organs in the capital [IJT-166]. Tripoli is now one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with kidnappings, gun battles, air strikes, ISIS attacks and burnt homes of opposition politicians. Most embassies and the United Nations  evacuated in July 2014.

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