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Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi, Fearing for His Life, Tries to Charter Plane to International Criminal Court

Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi has contacted the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and is seeking an airlift out of Libya, where he fears assassination, in favor of a war crimes trial.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) said intermediaries had been used in indirect talks with Saif al-Islam.

Prosecutors said the court had made it clear to Gaddafi’s son, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, that he was innocent until proven guilty.

Saif al-Islam, who was once the presumed successor to his father, has been in hiding for months.

The BBC floats the possibility that Seif al-Islam would evade the ICC and flee to Zimbabwe. That sounds like a conspiracy theory to me. I think the more interesting part of this is that Seif al-Islam, having seen his father killed in cold blood by rebel militiamen, is so fearful of staying in Libya that he would rather face trial for war crimes. Seif previously called the ICC a tool of foreign powers. But they are also the only organization that can keep him from certain death, in his eyes.

This is the state of a country that has been liberated for democracy, where criminals seek international protection because they fear death at the hands of their captors. The human rights implications are obvious. NATO is ending its mission in Libya on Monday, but Western leaders needs to put significantly more pressure on the Libyan government they are welcoming into the community of nations, which just days into its history has compiled a troubling record on detainee abuse and assassination.

More from Reuters.

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David Dayen

David Dayen