The Hague, August 7, 2012 (FH) - In a defence document submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 31, Saif al Islam Gaddafi pleads for being tried in The Hague.

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“I want to face justice. I want to do so because I believe that Libya, the victims in Libya, the international community and myself- all have a right to the truth… I would have liked to have been tried in Libya by Libyan judges under Libyan law in front of the Libyan people. But what has been happening in my case cannot be called a trial”, he explained.

According to him, “the only way for Libya and the Libyan people to have justice is for the ICC to try this case in a fair, impartial and independent manner. I am not afraid to die but if you execute me after such a trial you should just call it murder”, he added.

Libya wants to try Gaddafi before its own courts.

Saif al Islam lawyers claim that their client can’t be tried in Libya, listing numerous violations of the suspect’s rights, including the fact that he has been in custody in Zenten since eight months without being brought before a judge. They add that the recent arrest of four ICC staff members could set an dangerous precedent.

Counsel Jean-Xavier Keita argues that “if the ICC were to bow to such pressure (…) then the Court will set a deterious precedent for both international justice and for the safety and security of ICC personnel, who will henceforth be viewed as potential bargaining tools by any states which are being required to cooperate with the ICC against their will”.

According to Keita, “ all defence documents were examined by persons armed to teeth with AK47”.

In conclusion, defence states that “ the possible death of Mr. Saif Al Islam Gaddafi in custody would be a travesty for intemational justice, and for the right of alleged victims in Libya to know the tuth. It is therefore a risk that the ICC cannot afford to take”.

Libya has until August 13 to answer.