Skip to main content

ICC orders Libya to hand over Gadhafi's former spy chief

By Laura Smith-Spark and Nic Robertson, CNN
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1728 GMT (0128 HKT)
Head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, is pictured in Tripoli on June 22, 2011.
Head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, is pictured in Tripoli on June 22, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Lawyers for ex-spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi welcome the ICC's order to hand him over
  • Al-Senussi was indicted alongside Moammar Gadhafi and the dictator's son for war crimes
  • The former spy chief was arrested in Mauritania in March last year
  • Libya wants to try al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam Gadhafi itself

(CNN) -- The International Criminal Court has called on Libya to immediately hand over former Gadhafi intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi for trial.

The late Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and his spy chief were all indicted by the ICC for war crimes during the civil war that led to the fall of the Gadhafi regime in 2011. Moammar Gadhafi was killed when he was captured after the war ended.

The ICC and Libya have been engaged in a protracted dispute about where to try Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who has been in Libyan custody for more than a year.

Read more: Libya granted more time on Gadhafi question

A similar situation appears to have developed in the case of al-Senussi, who was arrested in Mauritania in March last year.

Where should Gadhafi son be extradited?
Gadhafi Son Captured

The Libyan government has insisted it wants to prosecute the cases itself, as it "regards the trial of Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi as a matter of the highest national importance, not only in bringing justice for the Libyan people but also in demonstrating that the new Libyan justice system is capable of conducting fair trials (that meet all applicable international standards) in complex cases."

Read more: Libya detains ICC lawyer over documents

According to court documents published Thursday, the ICC has repeatedly called on the Libyan authorities to meet their obligation to comply with its request for the surrender of al-Senussi.

The papers indicate the Libyan authorities only confirmed to the ICC last month that the spy chief was in their custody and that judicial proceedings were under way in Libya.

Libya has called for the ICC to suspend the order to hand over al-Senussi, but the court in The Hague has rejected its argument.

Defense lawyers appointed to al-Senussi welcomed the ICC's order for Libya to surrender their client.

"This morning's ruling in the al-Senussi case shows that the ICC has finally run out of patience with Libya's chaotic and disingenuous attempts to avoid complying with its international legal obligations," said lawyer Ben Emmerson in a statement.

"The ICC has ordered an immediate halt to Libya's unseemly rush to drag Mr. Al-Senussi to the gallows before the law has taken its course."

If Libya's transitional authorities want the country to be accepted as a part of the international community, "then they now need to understand that international law applies to Libya just as much as it applies to every other state," he said.

"The international community cannot continue to tolerate Libya's flagrant lawlessness and disregard of the decisions of the U.N. Security Council."

The defense team has called for Libya and Mauritania to be referred to the U.N. Security Council over their failure to cooperate with the ICC.

"The time has now come for Britain and the U.S. to make good on their promises to put pressure on Libya to obey the orders of the ICC," Emmerson added.

"True friends sometimes have to give unwelcome advice. Unless Libya moves swiftly to obey this morning's order of the ICC to halt the domestic prosecution of Mr. Al-Senussi, and hand him over to the ICC immediately, Libya will before long become a pariah state, subject to U.N. sanctions."

CNN's Stephanie Halasz contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT