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Gaddafi son says he will not receive fair trial in Libya

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] has said that he believes he should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder], according to a court document filed Tuesday. Saif al-Islam has said that while he would prefer to be tried in Libya, he does not believe the current government can provide a fair trial, saying he believes the government would attempt to intimidate witnesses [AFP report]. Earlier this month, an ICC staff member expressed concern [JURIST report] about Libya's ability to hold a fair trial for Saif al-Islam. The issue of which court is going to try Saif al-Islam has been in dispute since he was captured [JURIST report] by Libyan rebel forces in November. Libya expressly denied [JURIST report] an ICC request to turn over Saif al-Islam, saying that he will face trial within the country. A judge for the ICC postponed a court order to transfer custody after Libya formally challenged [JURIST reports] the international court's jurisdiction over Saif al-Islam.

The dispute over who will try Saif al-Islam has soured relations between Libya and the ICC. Last month, four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained [JURIST report] by Libyan security forces. They were in custody for nearly four weeks. Upon her release [JURIST report], ICC lawyer Melinda Taylor said she did not believe Saif al-Islam would receive a fair trial in the country. Three officials from the ICC and the Australian ambassador to Libya were able to visit [JURIST report] and assess the condition of the four detained ICC staff members after their detention. A judicial source in Libya told reporters shortly after their detention that the four could remain in "preventative" detention [JURIST report] for 45 days while an investigation is conducted. The four staff members were detained after Taylor was accused of attempting to give documents to Saif al-Islam that were from his former aid, Mohammed Ismail, who has been in hiding since the Libyan conflict [JURIST backgrounder] began.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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