18th March, 2012
Mauritania has received requests from France and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to extradite Libya’s ex-spy chief Abdullah Senussi, a security source said Sunday.
“For the time being two requests have been received by Mauritania. One from France arrived on Saturday and the second from the ICC on Sunday,” the source told AFP.
“We haven’t heard from Libya yet, but we are awaiting a visit from a delegation of the National Transition Council,” which is currently in power in Libya, on an as yet unknown date, he added.
Libya is determined to try the feared former right-hand man of fallen leader Moamer Kadhafi who is wanted by the ICC in The Hague for crimes committed while trying to crush last year’s uprising.
“Our courts are very good, even excellent, especially in Tripoli and we are able to carry out his trial according to international standards,” Justice Minister Ali Hmeida Ashur told AFP on Sunday.
Senussi was arrested late Friday night at the Nouakchott airport upon his arrival from Casablanca in Morocco on a regular flight, carrying a fake Malian passport.
On Saturday Libyan government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa said that the prosecutor general had sent an extradition request to Mauritania through Interpol asking for Senussi to be handed back to Tripoli.
No bilateral agreements for extradition exists between Libya and Mauritania, however a diplomatic source said the country may rely on a judicial assistance agreement linking countries of the Arab League.
Senussi faced an international arrest warrant after a Paris court sentenced him in absentia to life for involvement in the downing of a French airliner in 1989 that killed 170 people.
The UTA airliner on a flight from Brazzaville to Paris via N’Djamena was brought down by a bomb on September 19, 1989 in Niger.
Senussi could also be held accountable in Libya for the Abu Salim prison massacre of 1996 when more than 1,000 detainees were gunned down.
Amnesty international on Saturday said that Senussi, who was arrested in Mauritania, should be tried by the ICC in the absence of a functioning judiciary in Libya.