Entries in International Court (3)


Libya Defies International Court's Demand for Saif Gadhafi

DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS/AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Libya's new government has rebuffed the international body seeking to try Saif al-Islam Gadhafi for war crimes, instead showing off a new, specially built courtroom in Tripoli where it says the former Libyan strongman will stand trial instead.

"We will respect the international law but we do have a lot of respect for our Libyan law and I guarantee you there will be no problem," said interim prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb on Tuesday.

Last week the International Criminal Court, a Netherlands-based war crimes body established by the United Nations, ordered Libya to hand over the 39-year-old, who has been held prisoner by a militia since his capture last fall just weeks after his father's death. The ICC said Tuesday that Libya had asked for a delay until after the country can hold its own trial. Saif faces charges of corruption, murder and rape and could be sentenced to death.

The Libyan government told the ICC that it "regards the trial of Saif a matter of the highest national importance," according to an ICC statement.

Human rights groups have asked that the Libyans turn Saif over to the international court. "This clear ruling by the ICC judges should effectively bring an end to the long-running saga over the fate of Saif al-Islam," said Marek Marczynski, head of Amnesty International's International Justice Team, on April 5. "Libya must act on the ICC's decision and surrender Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi without further delay. An unfair trial before a Libyan court where the accused could face the death penalty is no way to guarantee justice and accountability."

But the Libyan government has converted a former military school into a courtroom instead, complete with carpeting and a black wire cage for defendants, and has painted the building in the colors of the new Libyan flag. Meanwhile, Saif is still being held in Zintan, more than 100 miles from Tripoli.

The ICC said Wednesday that Saif had told ICC officials who met with him in Zintan in March that he wanted to be tried in Libya before being shipped to The Hague.

"I hope I can be tried here in my country, whether they will execute me or not," he told two ICC officials, according to a report dated March 5.

But the report also said Saif seemed to be making the statement for the benefit of the Libyan prosecutor, who was present during the interview.

The report also said that Saif seemed to indicate nonverbally that he had been mistreated, pointing to two damaged fingers on his left hand and a missing tooth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holy See No Evil? International Court Asked to Investigate Pope

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Victims of Catholic clergy sex abuse have formally asked the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the role played by top Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict, in what the group called "crimes against humanity."

The New York-based legal group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) announced Tuesday that the group, along with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint at the Hague claiming that top Vatican officials tolerated and enabled "the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world."

"SNAP wants to prevent even one more child from being raped or sexually assaulted by a priest and we hope that victims around the world will know today that they are not alone and that it is safe to speak up and report their abuse," SNAP President Barbara Blaine said, according to the CCR's statement. "We as victims are mobilizing across the globe, and every survivor is invited to join us."

Pope Benedict XVI is among the top Vatican officials named in the 84-page complaint, which alleges investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries have found "intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm." The complaint claims that Benedict, in his former position as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, participated in the cover-up.

"Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, either knew and/or some cases consciously disregarded information that showed subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes," the complaint says.

It's not the first time the Pope and top Vatican officials have been directly accused of sex abuse cover-ups.

In April 2010, Pope Benedict XVI and other officials were accused by members of of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.

At the time, the pope told reporters he was "deeply ashamed" of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, "We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry."

Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers. The Pope described a tearful meeting in Malta with eight men who claimed to have been abused by clergy there.

"I shared with them their suffering, and with emotion, I prayed with them," said Benedict, "assuring them of church action."

But more than a year later, SNAP said the church has not done enough to prosecute the higher-level officials in cases of alleged cover-ups.

The International Criminal Court is meant to try cases involving "the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," according to the court's website.

A spokesperson for the church declined to comment on the complaint for this report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ceasefire Collapses As Cambodian, Thai Troops Re-Engage

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SISAKET, Thailand) -- Just a day after Thai and Cambodian military officials had agreed to a ceasefire over a border dispute, reports from Thailand say Cambodian troops fired artillery onto Thai soil on Sunday.

A report from the Bangkok Post says Cambodian soldiers launched an attack targeted at the village of Chong Done Aow, and that Thai military officials confirmed fire was returned. The report says the battle is ongoing.

Military officials from both countries met Saturday to negotiate a temporary settlement in which no artillery fire would be exchanged and no further troops would be brought to the border which separates the two countries. The dispute is over the ancient Preah Vihear temple, which lies on the northern boundary of Cambodia and the southern border of Thailand.

Fighting over the temple has gone on for many years. According to a 1962 ruling by an international court, the temple belongs to Cambodia, although the main entrance to the structure is in Thai territory.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio