British taxpayers are helping to fund the legal defence of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif in a war crimes trial that could cost millions of pounds, The Telegraph can disclose.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which receives about a fifth of its £100 million annual budget from the UK, has taken the “exceptional” decision to fund a senior British barrister to represent Saif Gaddafi.
Saif Gaddafi, whose father stole billions during his reign of terror, is being held in Libya, where he is on trial for corruption and war crimes for his part in attempting to suppress the 2011 uprising. If found guilty, he is almost certain to be executed.
The ICC insists Gaddafi, 41, will not get a fair trial in his home country and wants him released into its custody so that he can be prosecuted in The Hague for war crimes. The court is now paying for John Jones, a London-based QC, to represent him.
In a statement issued to The Telegraph the court said it had “exceptionally decided to assume the costs of Mr Gaddafi’s legal representation on a provisional basis until such time as an assessment of his disposable means has been conducted”.