TRIPOLI, Libya – The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor pledged Wednesday in Tripoli to look into the cases of two captured Libyans -- a son of deposed ruler Muammar Qaddafi and his notorious intelligence chief.
The Hague-based court is locked in a legal tug-of-war with Libya's ruling National Transitional Council over who should try Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, once considered his father's heir apparent. He was captured last year in Libya after a civil war that toppled the Qaddafi regime.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo told The Associated Press at Tripoli's airport that he would also follow up on the case of Abdullah al-Senoussi, Qaddafi's spy chief, who is accused of attacking civilians during the uprising, as well as of complicity in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner.
Al-Senoussi was captured last month in Mauritania, where the courts are reviewing requests for his extradition from Libya and France as well as the ICC.
Since the end of Libya's civil war with the capture and killing of Qaddafi last October, the new government has struggled to extend its control over the vast desert nation. It has largely failed to rein in the hundreds of brigades that fought in the war. They rule much of the country in the absence of an effective central government and military.
The new rulers are also struggling to build a judicial system practically from scratch, raising concerns about how it would be possible to try Qaddafi's son.
Earlier this month, a Libyan official said Seif al-Islam would be tried in Libya, and there would be a verdict before mid-June. The decision, announced by National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Hareizi, was made despite appeals by rights groups to Libyan authorities to hand him over to the ICC, because of fears that he may not get a fair trial in Libya. Al-Hareizi said he would be tried for murder, rape and corruption.
Seif al-Islam had been held until now by his captors, ex-rebels from the town of Zintan, one of dozens of militias across the country operating outside government control. For months, the Zintan militia refused to give him up to Tripoli's officials.
Moreno-Ocampo arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday. He said he would also travel to the coastal city of Misrata to investigate allegations of abuse in detention facilities run by militiamen who fought Qaddafi's forces.
In February, Amnesty International accused militias of torturing detainees deemed loyal to Qaddafi's regime and driving out residents of entire neighborhoods and towns.
"We want to know how Libya will deal with war crimes, and how are they investigating the crimes," Moreno-Ocampo told the AP. "Right now, we are focusing on the rape crimes. The next investigation will be decided after we see what the government is planning to do."
The U.N.'s top human rights official, along with Amnesty International, have urged the Libyan government to take control of all the makeshift prisons to prevent further atrocities against detainees.
"There's torture, extrajudicial executions, rape of both men and women," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Jan. 27.