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Transitional government prefers to try Gadhafi son in Libya

From Ingrid Formanek, CNN
October 30, 2011 -- Updated 2354 GMT (0754 HKT)
Saif al-Islam, son of late former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, is wanted for crimes against humanity.
Saif al-Islam, son of late former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, is wanted for crimes against humanity.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Libya would like to show that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi can receive a fair trial
  • NTC: If he is captured in Libya, he will be tried there
  • The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for him

(CNN) -- Libya's transitional government would prefer to try former leader Moammar Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam in a Libyan court despite an arrest warrant issued for him by the International Criminal Court, a spokesman said Sunday.

The court's chief prosecutor said Friday it was having "informal conversations" about the surrender of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is wanted for crimes against humanity. But Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court did not know his whereabouts and would not reveal with whom the court is talking.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has realized there is no escape, and wants to negotiate a surrender to limit the damage, said Anees al-Sharif, spokesman for the National Transitional Council's Tripoli Military Council.

But, he said, if the younger Gadhafi is captured in Libya, he will be tried there, as his alleged crimes were committed on Libyan soil. If he is captured outside Libya, the location of his trial will depend on where he is captured because of the ICC arrest warrants, he said.

However, the NTC would prefer to try Saif al-Islam Gadhafi in a Libyan court, as it would like to show that he could receive a fair trial, he said.

Moreno-Ocampo said Friday that if Saif al-Islam Gadhafi is brought before the ICC, he will "have all the rights and be protected," and will be allowed to present a defense.

"We believe we have a strong case," the prosecutor told CNN in an exclusive interview from The Hague. "We believe he should be convicted."

The court believes Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, along with his father and his brother-in-law, Abdulla al-Sanussi, are responsible for crimes against humanity including murder and persecution across the country beginning in February amid anti-government demonstrations, Moreno-Ocampo said.

Al-Sanussi served as the head of intelligence for Moammar Gadhafi, who was captured by opposition fighters and killed earlier this month.

Moreno-Ocampo promised there would be no deals for Saif al-Islam Gadhafi's surrender.

CNN's Zain Verjee contributed to this report.

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