ICC Indictee Abdullah el-Senussi Arrested; What Happens Next?
Abdullah el-Senussi, former Libyan intelligence chief and brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi, was arrested this weekend in Mauritania. The big question now is, where and by whom will he be tried for his crimes?
Senussi was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity stemming from the government's attacks on civilians last year prior to Gaddafi's fall from power. However, the ICC is not the only body that wants to bring Senussi to justice-France has also sentenced him in absentia to life in prison for his involvement in the 1989 bombing of a plane over Niger in which 170 passengers, many of them French, were killed. And Libya wants to punish him for a crackdown on a prison riot in Tripoli in 1996 that left 1200 dead.
So who gets Senussi now? It's not entirely clear. The ICC, France, and Libya have all expressed the desire to take him into custody and try him for his various crimes, and it is not certain what Mauritania will do with him.
"We insist that Senussi is extradited to Libya," stated Mohammed al-Harizy, a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council. "There are demands from the ICC and France to get Senussi, but the priority is to deliver Senussi to Libya."
However, given the current state of its judicial system after years of Gaddafi's rule, it is unclear what kind of trial the Libyan government can provide for Senussi. The ICC has said it will work with Mauritania to get the country to turn Senussi over to the Court. Mauritania is not an ICC member, but since the situation in Libya was referred to the ICC by the U.N. Security Council, it has an obligation to cooperate with the Court.
We will keep you informed as events unfold further.
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