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Inside Story
Should Saif al-Islam be tried in Libya?
As one armed group detains ICC staff members, we ask if the country is ready for its first elections in four decades.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 09:13

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has demanded the release of four staff members detained by an armed Libyan group.

"The current situation in Libya is one of distrust between the authorities in Zintan and Tripoli. There's been a strong feeling among the Zintanis for some time that if Saif [al-Islam] was rendered to those that would hold him in custody in Tripoli, that he would be aided to escape."

- William Lawrence from the International Crisis Group

On Friday, the armed brigade that has been holding Saif al-Islam, Muammar Gaddafi's son, captured four ICC staff members who went to meet him, accusing them of trying to pass documents to him.

The incident highlights the problems posed by the existence of powerful local militias in Libya and calls into question the authority of the central government under the National Transitional Council (NTC) in the run-up to the general elections.

The ICC and Libyan authorities have been unable to agree on where al-Islam should be tried.

The ICC wants to try him for crimes against humanity. But Libya says he should be tried in his own country and has refused to hand him over to the ICC.

The interim government is also facing other problems. More than 250 people have been killed in tribal clashes in southeast Libya since February.

On Saturday, fresh clashes between Libyan soldiers and tribesmen erupted in the remote southeastern town of Kufra. Two people were killed and several were injured.

"The NTC has the full power, the full authority, the full trust of the Libyan people."

- Waheed Burshan, an independent Libyan parliamentary candidate

Last Monday, an armed group - angered by the arrest of their commander - stormed Libya's main airport runway, forcing it to shut down for several hours.
And last month, one person was killed and several injured when armed men started shooting outside the Libyan prime minister's office.

Inside Story asks: Is the Libyan judiciary capable of guaranteeing a fair trial for Saif al-Islam or should he be handed over to the ICC? And are Libyans ready for their first elections in four decades?

Joining presenter Hazem Sika to discuss these issues are guests: Saad Djebbar, an international lawyer and political analyst; Waheed Burshan, an independent candidate in the Libyan parliamentary elections; William Lawrence, the North Africa project director for the International Crisis Group.

"The problem is some militias, opportunistic elements, which emerged after Gaddafi's downfall, they set up themselves in business and those are now the main source of trouble. Good news is the original armed groups are now dealing with these elements in a very responsible manner."

Saad Djebbar, an international lawyer and political analyst

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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