Hague judges rule Gaddafi-era spy chief can face trial at home

Reuters

AMSTERDAM, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Judges at the InternationalCriminal Court ruled on Friday that Libya was free to tryAbdullah al-Senussi, the former Libyan spy chief who was apivotal figure under former ruler Muammar Gaddafi - a decisionhis lawyers said was "shocking".

Judges said that since Libya was able and willing to giveSenussi a fair trial on charges that were similar to the ICC's,there was no need to transfer him to the court's custody.Senussi's lawyers said they would appeal.

Senussi and Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam are accused ofcrimes against humanity during the uprising that toppled Gaddafiin 2011. Both men are in detention in Libya while the ICC andLibya wrangle over who has the right to try them.

Senussi's lawyer echoed many legal scholars in questioningwhether Libya, whose prime minister was briefly seized by gunmenon Thursday, is in a position to administer a fair trial justtwo years after the end of Gaddafi's four-decade rule that hasleft the country divided and largely lawless.

"The country is sliding into wide-scale lawlessness wherethe law of the gun rules and armed militas do as they please,"said Ben Emmerson, who is representing Senussi before the ICC.

"The effect of this decision is to condemn Mr. al-Senussi toface mob justice...in which the inevitable outcome is the deathpenalty," he added.

Friday's ruling does not affect the case against Saifal-Islam, who is in custody in the western mountain city ofZintan, where Tripoli's rule is weak.

Lawyers for both suspects have been trying to have themtransferred to The Hague, where they would not face the deathpenalty.

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