Gadhafi Son Claims Innocence
ICC says it has evidence Saif hired mercenaries to attack civilians
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2011 8:18 AM CDT
In this March 10, 2011 file photo, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi gestures as he speaks to supporters and the media in Tripoli.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

(Newser) – Moammar Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent has told the International Criminal Court that he is innocent of the charges against him. The ICC, however, says it has evidence that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi—who has been using intermediaries to explore his options for surrender—is guilty of war crimes, having hired mercenaries to attack anti-Gadhafi Libyan civilians.

"We have a witness who explained how Saif was involved with the planning of the attacks against civilians, including in particular the hiring of core mercenaries from different countries," the ICC's chief prosecutor tells Reuters. Saif is believed to be on the run in southern Libya near the border with Niger, desperately trying to avoid his father's fate. Niger says it will hand him over to the ICC if he enters the country, though doing so may spark a revolt among Tuareg nomads in the border region, who received support from Gadhafi during a two-year insurgency that ended in 2009.