[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday criticized [press release] Libya for ongoing lawlessness and impunity for the militias responsible for the systematic executions of Muammar Gaddafi [JURIST backgrounder] and his supporters. HRW further urged the Libyan government and its international allies to create and support a law-abiding state security force and an impartial justice system which applies the law “no matter who the victim and who the perpetrator.” Earlier this month HRW requested [JURIST report] that Libya instate a moratorium on capital punishment because of the widespread disarray in the Libyan judicial system.
During the period of time now referred to as “the Arab Spring,” countries across the Middle East erupted in protests from citizens demanding an end to oppressive regimes and the beginning of true democracies in their nations. The pro-democracy protests began in Tunisia [JURIST news archive] and spread quickly to Egypt [JURIST backgrounder] and on to Libya and other nations. The recent death sentences come amid debate between the UN and Libya over the proper venue to try Gaddafi-era officials. Libya remains in conflict [JURIST report] with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] over the trial of Gaddafi’s son and the efficacy and fairness of trying him in a Libyan court.
Tripoli, 30 August 2013:
Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, one of the former dictator’s sons, and his spy chief Abdullah Senussi are among 30 former regime officials who will stand trial in September, according to Libya’s Attorney General.
[JURIST] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the son of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] was charged on Tuesday with murder, relating to the 2011 Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder], a Libyan prosecutor said. Prosecutors also charged former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] with murder. If convicted, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for his alleged role in murdering civilians during the 2011 uprising. According to prosecutors, al-Senussi confessed to collaborating to produce car bombs [AP report] in Benghazi during the uprising. The trial for Gaddafi and al-Senussi is scheduled to begin September 19.
Al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi also face charges of crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. In July the ICC rejected Libya’s request [JURIST report] to suspend the order to hand over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. In June Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s lawyer accused Libyan officials [JURIST report] of defying the ICC by announcing that Saif al-Islam’s trial would begin in August. In February the ICC ordered Libya to extradite al-Senussi [JURIST report] to face charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the 2011 uprising.
Libya had challenged the ICC’s right to put Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on trial on the grounds that since Libya was planning its own proceedings.
World Bulletin/News Desk
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on Friday that Libya must hand over the son of slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi to the court, which wants to try him for alleged crimes committed during the revolution that toppled his father.