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(New York) — Amnesty International said today that Wednesday's decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordering Libya to immediately surrender Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi is a step forward for justice and accountability.
"This clear ruling by the ICC judges should effectively end the long-running saga over the fate of Saif al-Islam," said Marek Marczyñski, head of Amnesty International's international justice team. "Libya must act on the ICC's decision and surrender Saif al-Islam without further delay."
Saif al-Islam is wanted for crimes against humanity in connection to the brutal crackdown on demonstrations by his father's government. Since his capture in November 2011, Saif al-Islam has been held in isolation in a secret location in Zintan, without effective access to a lawyer or facilities to communicate with his family.
Despite the ICC decision, media reports on Thursday said that Libyan authorities had insisted that Saif al-Islam would be tried in the country. Amnesty International is calling on the Libyan authorities to ensure Saif al-Islam's rights are guaranteed.
"An unfair trial before a Libyan court is no way to guarantee justice," said Marczyñski. "For as long as the Libyan justice system remains weak and unable to conduct effective investigations, the ICC will be crucial in delivering accountability in Libya."
Criminal proceedings against thousands of detainees, held mainly outside the framework of the law and accused of war crimes and other violations, have yet to start in Libya. The vast majority of detainees have no access to lawyers, and Amnesty International is concerned that detainees have been forced to give thumb-print "confessions" extracted under torture or duress.
The ICC has indicated that it could refer any failure of the Libyan government to comply with the Court's ruling to the U.N. Security Council.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.