The Hague, May 5, 2012 (FH) - The Libyan government on Tuesday filed a request before the International Criminal Court (ICC) challenging the tribunal’s right to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former military intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, in The Hague for war crimes.

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“To deny the Libyan people this historic opportunity to eradicate the long-standing culture of impunity would be manifestly inconsistent with the object and purpose of the Rome Statute, which accords primacy to national judicial systems”, read the document.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is wanted by the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity committed after February 2011. An arrest warrant was issued against him in March 2011. He has been held by a militia in Zintan since he was arrested on November 19, 2011. Abdullah Al-Senussi was arrested in Mauritania in March. He is wanted by Libya, France and the ICC. So far, he has not been extradited.

ICC spokeswoman Sonia Robla explained Tuesday that once the court has issued an arrest warrant for a suspect, it cannot retract it unless judges believe suspects will be tried for the same crimes they were indicted for, and that they will receive a fair trial.

According to the document submitted on Tuesday, this is what Libya is currently doing: "Libya respectfully submits that...its (own) national judicial system is actively investigating Mr. Qaddafi and Mr. al-Senoussi for their alleged criminal responsibility for multiple acts of murder and persecution amounting to crimes against humanity," the application said.

Libyan government also claims that Saif should be transferred soon to specially built facilities combining a courthouse and prison in Tripoli. However, Osama al-Jueili, Libya's Defence minister and head of the militia brigade which is holding Gaddafi's son in Zintan told British Daily Telegraph's special envoy on Wednesday that he thought Saif would be tried in Zintan.

"Zintan is part of Libya, the country where the crimes he is charged with were committed. In the history of war crimes it is not necessary to hold these courts in the capital", he said.

Saif al-Islam faces the death penalty if found guilty by a Libyan court, but only a prison term if convicted by the ICC.