Libya has priority to try the most prominent son of deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on Wednesday.
On an official visit to Tripoli, Moreno-Ocampo said Libya had every right to try Seif al-Islam, arrested last week.
"The primacy is for the national system. If they want to do it, we are not competing with them," Moreno-Ocampo said at a media conference.
"We do it when they cannot do it," Moreno-Ocampo said. "As soon they can do it, we stop. This is the system, and it's what we are discussing here."
During the news conference, Moreno-Ocampo said as long as Libya conducted appropriate investigations and presented its findings to ICC judges "the rules say they can do it."
"We are not doing something else," Moreno-Ocampo said.
Libya's Interim Justice Minister Mohammed al-Allagui said talks toward a cooperation deal between the ICC and the new government in Tripoli were underway while maintaining that "all the guarantees and conditions are available in Libya for a fair trial.”
"It is the will of the Libyan people," Allagui said stressing that trying Seif in Libya was not contradictory to cooperating with the ICC.
Moreno-Ocampo is in Libya for talks on jurisdiction in the cases of Seif and Gadhafi's spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi, both of whom are wanted by the court on charges of crimes against humanity.
But Allagui told the news conference that the authorities could no longer confirm the arrest of Senussi, reiterating comments made Tuesday by U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, that the former spymaster and brother in law to Moammar Gadhafi, was still missing.
NTC officials and military commanders had said Senussi was captured on Sunday at his sister's home in the southern Libyan region of Al-Guira where he had been apparently hiding.
Reports of his capture came a day after Libya's new rulers announced with much fanfare the arrest of Seif al-Islam.
Video footage showing Seif's capture has been widely publicized but there have been no pictures of Senussi following his reported arrest.
On Tuesday the head of the military council of the southern Wadi Shati region, where Al-Guira is located, insisted in remarks to AFP that Senussi was in custody.
"According to my sources he has been arrested and is being kept in a secret place to protect his life," said Bashir Uweidat.
Senussi was in the southern Sabha region, he said, without providing further details.
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