Further Evidence that Libya Is Unable to Prosecute Saif
Now that Taylor is finally free, we can turn our attention again to the ongoing saga of who is going to prosecute Saif Gaddafi — Libya or the ICC. A recent article in the Independent indicates that the correct answer may well be “neither”:
Ms Taylor said she was “very happy” to be able to return to her family. The proceedings on a hot and dusty afternoon also reinforced, however, the image of power the Republic of Zintan has projected since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
Ms Taylor had been guilty of trying to smuggle incriminating documents and a camera to Saif al-Islam, according to Alejmi Al-Atari, the militia chief who captured him. Commander Al-Atari also stressed later that the fallen dictator’s son will not be transferred to the government in Tripoli, let alone the ICC in The Hague. “He will be tried here, in Zintan for crimes, for all his oppression. Zintan can take care of justice for the Libyan people.”
Until recently, the Zintan battalions, which have more than 15,000 men under arms, “took care” of the capital’s airport, which is steadily opening up to foreign and domestic flights and becoming the main transport hub of the country. It is nominally now under the control of the Tripoli administration, but the Zintani presence is still very much there to see.
I’m not sure how a non-state actor holds a credible trial of Saif. But it’s clear that, at least for the foreseeable future, Libya as a state remains “unable” to prosecute Saif for purposes of its admissibility challenge. The Pre-Trial Chamber should thus reject that challenge until the Libyan government demonstrates that it has control over Saif.