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Senussi again seeks Hague trial

Last updated: Friday, October 18, 2013 8:14 PM
Abdullah Senussi


Nigel Ash


TRIPOLI — Gaddafi’s former security chief Abdullah Senussi has appealed a decision by judges at the International Criminal Court that he can after all be tried in Libya and not brought before the international court in the Hague.

Senussi’s court-appointed lawyer, Benedict Emmerson filing the appeal Thursday, was reported by the Associated Press as asking the ICC to order the Tripoli court trying his client to halt proceedings while the international judges considered the appeal. Emmerson claimed that there was a danger that his client could be convicted and executed in Libya before the ICC ruled on the appeal.

At the international court Senussi was charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the uprising. Libyan charges also include the former security chief’s involvement in the 1996 massacre of 1,300 prisoners at Abu Selim jail.

The ICC a week ago accepted a Libyan government appeal against its original order that Senussi be handed over. Its ruling said that after careful consideration it had found that the Libyan prosecutor’s investigations covered the same ground as its own. It also noted the quantity and quality of the evidence collected against Senussi. It also praised efforts made to “resolve certain issues in the justice system by recourse to international assistance”.

In backing a Libyan trial for Senussi, the ICC also rendered pointless a ruling made by its judges on Sept. 26, demanding that the Libyan authorities permit members of Senussis defense team to have a privileged visit with their client in Libya. Mindful of the 26-day detention of Saif Al-Islam’s four-man defense team in Zintan 16 months ago, the ICC order made a point of insisting that the safety of the defense lawyers be guaranteed. Libya never agreed to the visit.

Senussi is due to make his third appearance in Tripoli next Thursday. With 36 other former top members of the Gaddafi regime, Senussi first appeared in court on Sept. 19. At his last appearance, a closed-door session on Oct. 3, proceedings were adjourned so lawyers for all the defendants could consult more fully with their clients. — Libya Herald

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