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28 Oct 2011 16:36
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor said on Friday that his office was in “informal contact” with the late Muammar Gaddafi’s fugitive son Saif al-Islam over his possible surrender to the war crimes court.
Saif al-Islam went on the run after forces loyal to Libya’s new rulers captured and apparently killed his father outside his hometown of Sirte. Saif al-Islam is believed to have fled across Libya’s southern border into Niger.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Countries which are not party to the Rome Statute are not obliged to hand over suspects.
“This is a legal process and if the judges decide that Saif is innocent, or has served his sentence, he can request the judges to send him to a different country as long as that country accepts him,” it added.
Nato declares end of Libya mission
Nato allies on Friday formally agreed to end the seven-month mission in Libya on Monday, a diplomat said.
Nato ambassadors meeting in Brussels agreed “by unanimity to end OUP [Operation Unified Protector] on October 31”, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Nato made a preliminary decision last week to end operations on Monday after judging that civilians were essentially safe from attacks following Gaddafi’s death and the fall of Sirte.
The formal decision on Friday came one day after the UN Security Council unanimously voted to end the mandate that authorised military action in Libya from 11.59pm Libyan time (9.59am GMT) on October 31.
Alliance warplanes flew more than 26 000 sorties and bombed almost 6 000 targets in an operation that began in March and helped a ragtag rebel force oust the veteran ruler.
Nato’s seven-month mission
In its seven-month mission, Nato deployed more than 200 aircraft over Libya and some 20 ships off the coast, obliterating Gaddafi’s military and paving the way for his ouster.
The United States, France and Britain launched the first salvos in the air war on March 19, before handing over command of the mission on March 31.
Here are some facts and figures from the campaign:
A total of 18 nations participated in OUP. But only eight of Nato’s 28 member states conducted air strikes: the US, France, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Denmark and Norway.
Two Arab states, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, also flew bombing missions alongside Nato aircraft.
More than 26 000 sorties were flown over Libya, including about 9700 offensive missions.
Nearly 6000 targets were bombed, including 1600 military facilities, bases and bunkers; 1 270 ammunition storage facilities; 690 surface-to-air missile and radar systems and storage sites; 600 tanks and armoured vehicles; and 405 artillery pieces and rocket launchers.
Between a dozen and 20 ships were deployed off the coast of Libya to prevent arms from entering the country by sea. More than 3 100 vessels were hailed while Nato boarded 296 ships. Only 11 were prevented from reaching port.
The cost for the US, which provided the bulk of air refuelling tankers and aerial reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, is estimated at $1.1-billion.
British planes flew more than 3 000 missions, representing a fifth of total Nato operations. Britain’s cost is estimated at £300-million—£160-million for operations and £140-million for weapons.
The British operation involved 1 200 service personnel, including 90 soldiers, mostly special forces and advisers, 350 from the Royal Navy and 700 from the Royal Air Force.
France deployed fighter jets, a squadron of helicopters and its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. The mission cost Paris €300-million.—Reuters, AFP
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