The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said today his office is in indirect contact with Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, son of the former Libyan leader, on his possible surrender to face charges for crimes against humanity.
“Through intermediaries, we have informal contact with Saif,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement. “The Office of the Prosecutor has made it clear that if he surrenders to the ICC, he has the right to be heard in court, he is innocent until proven guilty.”
In June the ICC issued arrest warrants for Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi, his son and the country’s intelligence chief, Abdullah Al Sanousi for their roles in attacks against protesters, hundreds of whom are confirmed to have been killed since opposition forces rose up against the regime as part of a wider pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East.
Muammar al-Qadhafi was killed last week in his hometown of Sirte during the final days of the eight-month-long conflict. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said his office is galvanizing efforts to carry out the arrest warrants against the other two men.
He also noted reports that there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Mr. al-Islam to an African country not party to the 1998 Rome Statute that established the ICC. His office is exploring the possibility of intercepting any plane within the airspace of a State party to make an arrest, said Mr. Moreno-Ocampo.
“This is a legal process and if the judges decide that Saif is innocent, or has served his sentence, he can request the judges to send him to a different country as long as that country accepts him.”
The Prosecutor has stated in the past that while Libya is not a State party to the Rome Statute, it has the primary responsibility to carry out the arrest warrants in compliance with the relevant resolution of the Security Council, which referred the situation in the country to the ICC.
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) on Sunday declared the full liberation of the country, just days after the death of Mr. Qadhafi. The North African nation now faces a host of challenges, including organizing an electoral process, establishing public security and starting a reconciliation process.