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Hague judges rule Gaddafi-era spy chief can face trial at home

Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi (C) is seen in custody in Tripoli in this undated handout picture. REUTERS/Libyan Nat
Muammar Gaddafi's former spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi (C) is seen in custody in Tripoli in this undated handout picture. REUTERS/Libyan Nat

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Judges at the International Criminal Court ruled on Friday that Libya was free to try Abdullah al-Senussi, the former Libyan spy chief who was a pivotal figure under long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Judges said that since Libya was able and willing to give Senussi a fair trial on charges that were similar to the ICC's, there was no need to transfer him to the court's custody.

Senussi and Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam are accused of crimes against humanity during the uprising that toppled Gaddafi in 2011. Both men are in detention in Libya while the ICC and Libya wrangle over who has the right to try them.

Some legal scholars have questioned whether Libya, whose prime minister was briefly seized by gunmen on Thursday, is in a position to administer a fair trial just two years after the end of Gaddafi's four decade rule that has left the country divided and largely lawless.

Friday's ruling does not affect the case against Saif al-Islam, who is in custody in the western mountain city of Zintan where the rule of the Libyan capital Tripoli is weak.

The two suspects' lawyers have been trying to have them transferred to The Hague, where they would not face the death penalty.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alison Williams)

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