Abdullah al-Senussi, military intelligence chief for Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi, should have been surrendered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges of crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said today amid reports that Mauritanian authorities had extradited him to Libya.
In June 2011, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Senussi, as well as Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, on two counts of crimes against humanity – murder and persecution – allegedly committed in the eastern Libyan port city of Benghazi in February 2011.
Al-Senussi had been in Mauritanian custody since March 2012, when he was arrested at the airport in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott.
In July, Mauritania’s Minister of Justice asserted to Amnesty International that al-Senussi had entered the country illegally and was being held in good conditions. He added that the Mauritanian government was considering extradition requests made by Libya and France and the surrender request by the ICC. It has not been possible to determine whether he has had access to a lawyer, an independent doctor of his own choice and ICC staff.
“Instead of extraditing Abdullah al-Senussi back to Libya, where he faces an unfair trial and the death penalty for ordinary crimes under national law, Mauritania should have given precedence to the ICC’s surrender request – he should face the charges of crimes against humanity against him in fair proceedings,” said Marek Marczyński, International Justice Research, Policy and Campaign Manager at Amnesty International.
“If the extradition reports are confirmed, the decision to send him to Libya – with its weak justice system and inadequate fair-trial guarantees – will inevitably delay justice for victims and could lead to violations of al-Senussi's rights to a fair trial.
“The ICC arrest warrant for al-Senussi remains in force and Libya has an obligation to surrender him without delay to The Hague.”