The International Criminal Court has referred Libya to the UN Security Council for not handing over deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam for trial.
Saif, 42, is the subject of a legal tug-of-war between Libya and The Hague-based ICC over where he should stand trial on charges relating to the repression of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed his father.
“The chamber is of the view that it is appropriate to make a finding of non-compliance by Libya with the court’s requests for cooperation at issue and refer the matter to the Security Council,” the ICC said in a statement on Wednesday.
Although Saif is being held by a Libyan militia in the northern hilltop stronghold Zintan rather than any central authority in the North African country, the ICC said in May that Tripoli must hand him over.
The ICC said on Wednesday that it “recognised that throughout the proceedings, Libya demonstrated in several respects its commitment to the court and made genuine efforts to maintain a constructive dialogue.
“The chamber also noted the volatile political and security situation in Libya and stated that it was sensitive to the serious difficulties that Libya is currently facing.”
The Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC in February 2011 amid Gaddafi’s repression of the popular uprising against his decades-old regime at the height of the Arab Spring.
Crimes against humanity
The ICC said its move was not intended “to sanction or criticise Libya but solely to seek the assistance of the Security Council to eliminate the impediments to cooperation”.
Authorities in Tripoli are unable to obtain the transfer of Gaddafi’s one-time heir apparent to the city from his prison in Zintan.
Saif has been charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the violent attempts to suppress the 2011 uprising.
A one-time member of Gaddafi’s inner circle and Libya’s de facto prime minister, Saif was captured by fighters in November 2011.
Libya is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and has rival governments and parliaments.
The UN on Monday postponed a new round of peace talks between Libya’s warring factions aimed at ending months of violence and political deadlock.
Fierce clashes persist in the second city Benghazi and west of Tripoli between forces loyal to the internationally recognised government and a rebel group of mainly Islamist militias.
A previous attempt to arrange UN-brokered talks between the different factions in June was unsuccessful.