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ICC prosecutor says Libya can try Seif al-Islam Qaddafi

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The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said Tuesday that Libya can put Muammar Qaddafi’s son and one-time heir apparent on trial at home, but that The Hague court’s judges must be involved in the case.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo was in Tripoli on Tuesday for talks with Libya’s new leaders about their plans for Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, who was captured Saturday in southern Libya and is being held by fighters in the mountain town of Zintan, southwest of the capital.

“Seif is captured so we are here to ensure cooperation,” Moreno-Ocampo told reporters after arriving in Libya. “If they (Libyans) prosecute the case, we will discuss with them how to inform the judges, and they can do it, but our judges have to be involved.”

On Tuesday Luis Moreno-Ocampo arrived in Tripoli to convene with Libyan authorities over plans to put Seif al-Islam Qaddafi and former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi on trial for crimes against humanity after their arrest at the weekend.

Interim justice minister Mohammed al-Allagui had said that Libya will not hand over Seif al-Islam to the ICC for trial.

“In a nutshell, we are not going to hand him over,” Allagui said when asked about Seif, who was captured in Libya’s far-flung Saharan south on Saturday after three months on the run.

Trying Seif “is the special responsibility of the Libyan courts. It is the prerogative of the Libyan courts. It is a question of our sovereignty over our territory and our citizens,” Allagui said.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for both men in June for their suppression of the Libyan revolution, sparked in mid-February, until the weekend’s arrests.

The ICC can only prosecute perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity if a country itself is unwilling or unable to do so. The court was initially allowed to probe crimes in Libya through a U.N. Security Council resolution on Feb. 26,

Libya’s new leaders, the National Transitional Council, have vowed to give Seif al-Islam and Senoussi a “fair trial in which international rights and norms will be guaranteed” in statements made on Saturday by Libya’s acting prime minister Abdul Rahim al-Keeb.