March 17th, 2012 by Amal Alamuddin
The former head of Military Intelligence under Colonel Gaddafi, who is wanted on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, has reportedly been arrested at Mauritania’s Nouakchott airport. Senussi allegedly arrived on a regular flight from Casablanca in Morocco carrying a fake passport.
This is not the first time there have been reports of Senussi’s arrest. But this time French authorities have reportedly confirmed that he was stopped in a joint operation between the two states. President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would request Senussi’s extradition to France as he has been sentenced in absentia by a French court for the 1989 attack that killed 170 people when a French airliner exploded over Niger. Libyan authorities are also demanding his extradition to Tripoli. Libya’s government spokesman Nasser al-Manee confirmed it had sought the extradition of Senussi and that the “Libyan government is ready to … give him a fair trial in Libya”. But Senussi is also wanted in The Hague. The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Senussi — as well as Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and his father Colonel Muammar Gaddafi — last June. According to ICC Judges, there are reasonable grounds to believe that “once instructed by Muammar Gaddafi … Al-Senussi … commanded the forces in Benghazi … to attack civilians demonstrating in the city”. Proceedings against Colonel Gaddafi were discontinued after his death. Saif Al-Islam is still being held in Libya and Libyan authorities say he will not be surrendered to The Hague. Mauritania has not signed the ICC statute, and it is unclear what it will do with Senussi.