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Gaddafi’s daughter seeks death certificate

23 February 2012, 11:54

Netherlands - Lawyers for the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi have filed a formal petition at the International Criminal Court seeking an authorised copy of the former Libyan leader's death certificate.

Aisha Gaddafi’s lawyer Nick Kaufman said on Wednesday the move is intended in part to show that Libya's National Transitional Council isn't capable of holding a fair trial for her brother Saif al-Islam, who was arrested in the country's remote southern desert in November.

The war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands has previously told Aisha, who is in Algeria, to seek information via Libya's new authorities. But Kaufman says no part of the new government has responded to her requests for basic information about her father's death usually accorded to relatives, and it is not clear where she should apply.

Kaufman said by telephone on Wednesday, "who are the Libyan 'authorities?'"

The Hague court, which was authorised by the UN to investigate war crimes committed during Libya's civil war, dropped its case against Muammar Gaddafi after his death at the hands of opposing forces on October 20.

However, the court, known by its acronym ICC, has not yet ruled on the new Libyan government's plans to try Saif and former Libyan intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi in Libya. The ICC indicted the men for crimes against humanity, including multiple murders, allegedly committed during the former regime's crackdown on dissent.

Although the court only pursues war crimes cases a country itself cannot or will not try, Libyan authorities must still persuade international judges that the men will get a fair trial, on basically the same charges they would have faced in The Hague.

Serious suspicions

Judges have asked Libya whether Saif is being held incommunicado, as Kaufman asserts, and whether ICC officials can visit him to check on his health and ask him whether he has legal representation.

The transitional government's reply was filed confidentially in January.

Kaufman said Libya's reluctance to disclose the death certificate — copies of which have been widely circulated on the Internet — shows it is even less likely to turn over documents such as an autopsy report, which may contain incriminating evidence.

The court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the United Nations last year there are "serious suspicions" Muammar Gaddafi’s death was itself a war crime because he may have been summarily executed after being taken into custody.

Kaufman said Libya's new government has a moral and legal obligation to give Aisha information such as the death certificate, autopsy report and exact location of Gaddafi’s grave.

"Why are the Libyan authorities claiming they are capable of trying Saif al-Islam when they can't take care of properly handling a single document?" Kaufman said.

- AP

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