Extradition of Al-Senussi to Tripoli thwarts international efforts to try him for crimes against humanity

On 5 September 2012 Abdullah Al-Senussi, Former Libyan head of the Military Intelligence, was extradited from Mauritania to Tripoli. FIDH remains concerned about the capacity, transparency and guarantees of fair trial of the Libyan justice system and calls upon the Libyan authorities to transfer Al-Senussi to the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is wanted for crimes against humanity.

"The lack of transparency and the weakness of the Libyan justice system to investigate international crimes and ensure a fair trial may hinder the efforts to bring justice according to international standards for victims of crimes against humanity committed during the uprising" says Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President. "Under international law, and pursuant to the referral of the Libyan situation to the ICC by the UN Security Council, the Libyan authorities should cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court, comply with its arrest warrants, and hand Al-Senussi over to The Hague".

On 27 June 2011, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Al-Senussi for his alleged responsibility in the murder and persecution of civilians from 15 February 2011 onwards. His actions would have been part of a State policy to quell demonstrations against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and targeting those perceived as dissidents, particularly in Benghazi, cradle of the uprising that finally led to the fall of the regime. Al-Senussi has been detained since his arrest at the airport in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in March 2012, trying to enter the country illegally, using a forged passport.

The Libyan authorities have made it clear that they want Al-Senussi to be tried in Libya notably for his alleged responsibility in the killing of more than 1000 detainees in Tripoli’s Abu Slim prison in 1996.

"This extradition to Libya where there are serious doubts about the capacity of the justice system to genuinely investigate and prosecute is extremely concerning. The rights of the victims of crimes against humanity may not be respected and Al-Senussi’s rights to a fair trial be violated, as he will face inadequate guarantees and the death penalty", declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

While the ICC is still examining the legal request by the Libyan government to genuinely prosecute Saif al-Islam Gaddafi nationally, whose trial in Libya is said to open in September, the ICC arrest warrant for Al-Senussi remains in force and Libya has an obligation to surrender him without delay to The Hague.


The ICC issued arrest warrants on 27 June 2011, against Muammar Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, and against Al-Senussi, for attacks against demonstrators and other civilians constituting crimes against humanity. These crimes were committed throughout Libya, namely in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata. The ICC warrants apply only to events in Libya beginning on 15 February 2011.

The ICC proceedings against Muammar Gaddafi were terminated following his death on 20 October 2011. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was arrested on 19 November 2011 and is detained in Libya since. The Government officials say they want to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya.

Al-Senussi was arrested last March in Mauritania, for trying to enter the country illegally, using a forged passport. According to the ICC arrest warrant, under instructions by Muammar Gaddafi to deter and quell civilian demonstrations in Benghazi, the former chief of Libyan Military Intelligence directly instructed military troops to attack demonstrators.

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