The Hague, February 7, 2012 (FH) - The Office of Public Counsel for the Defence (OPCD) before the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated in a document released on February 2 that there was "no basis for asserting that the ICC should defer [Saif al-Islam] Gaddafi's case to Libya", Hirondelle News agency learned on Tuesday.

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In his submission, the Principal Counsel of OPCD, Xavier-Jean Keita, also requested that the Chamber should summon the Libyan authorities to respect the defendant's right to be assisted by a lawyer. "Failure to do so should be reported to the Security Council", reads the document.

In May 2011, the ICC issued an international arrest warrant against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi for crimes against humanity. The son of the former Libyan ruler was arrested in southern Libya on November 19, 2011. Since, he has been denied the right of legal assistance.

The new Libyan authorities intend to try Gaddafi in Libya. On January 20, they submitted a confidential report to the ICC Pre-trial Chamber in an attempt to demonstrate that the Libyan judiciary could guarantee "fair and credible proceedings". The ICC Prosecutor and the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence were asked to file their observations in response by February 2nd.

Xavier-Jean Keita highlights in his report that "the paucity of information concerning the current legal basis for Mr. Gaddafi's detention also speaks to a general lack of control and effectiveness with regard to the detention and domestic proceedings against Mr. Gaddafi".

He also reminds the Chamber of the fact that the United Nations and several NGOs recently denounced acts of torture inflicted upon incarcerated supporters of the slain Colonel Gaddafi. "This bespeaks substantial collapse or unavailability of the national judicial system to supervise the conduct of criminal investigations", the head of the OPCD states.

The response of the ICC Prosecutor to the Libyan report has not yet been disclosed.


© Hirondelle News Agency