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Saif seeks flight to ICC war crimes court

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has reportedly contacted the ICC in order to negotiate his surrender and sought an aircraft to transport him over to the Hague war crimes court in the Netherlands.

An NTC official told reporters that,

"He believes handing himself over is the best option for him."

He also commented that Saif feared for his safety and wanted assurances as he surrenders. he is currently thought to be on the run in the vast desert in Libya, near the border with Algeria and Niger.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters,

"Through intermediaries, we have informal contact with Saif. The office of the prosecutor has made it clear that if he surrenders to the ICC, he has the right to be heard in court, he is innocent until proven guilty. The judges will decide."

He also went on to say,

"Additionally, we have learnt through informal channels that there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Saif to an African (country) not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor is also exploring the possibility to intercept any plane within the air space of a state party in order to make an arrest."

The ICC has no police force of its own and relies on state co-operation to apprehend those that it has issued arrest warrants for. Earlier this month, Sudan’s fugitive President Omar al-Bashir travelled to Malawi, where he was not arrested by authorities there, drawing criticism from the ICC, EU and UN.

There have been reports that South Africa may be a possible location for Saif to seek shelter, with claims that some South Africans may have been amongst those killed in Sirte whilst fighting for Gaddafi.

Educated at the London School of Economics, Saif al-Islam was once seen by many governments as the acceptable, Western-friendly face of Libya, and heir apparent to his father.

See our earlier post: ‘Gaddafi's son to surrender to ICC’ (Oct 2011)

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