The International Criminal Court [official website] on Thursday ordered Libyan officials to hand over the former intelligence chief for Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] and allow him to meet with his lawyer. The ex-spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profile], has been indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity stemming from the alleged murders and persecution of Libyan protesters during the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder] and uprising in 2011. Despite the order [AP report], however, Libyan authorities continue to contend [JURIST report] that the ICC is a court of last resort and that the transfer of al-Senussi is unnecessary given that Libya is prepared to try him in a domestic proceeding. Al-Senussi's lawyers contend, however, that the former intelligence chief will not receive fair treatment in any Libyan tribunal, thus making an international trial obligatory. If Libya refuses the order and extradition of al-Senussi, the ICC may then report the matter to the UN Security Council [official website] for further investigation.
Thursday's news is the latest in the ongoing effort by Libya to try Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [BBC profile], and al-Senussi nationally rather than turn them over to the ICC. Last month, the ICC asked Libya to address reports [JURIST report] that it planned to try Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi. In October, Libyan government lawyers urged the ICC [JURIST report] to allow the men to be tried in Libya and promised that the trial would be fair. In August, Saif al-Islam stated that he preferred to be tried by the ICC [JURIST report] out of fear that Libya would not try him fairly. In June, four ICC staff members who traveled to Libya to speak with Saif al-Islam were detained by Libyan security forces [JURIST report] and were in custody for nearly four weeks before being released. The ICC issued arrest warrants [Al Jazeera report] for both men in June 2011.