Why is the Libya situation at the International Criminal Court?

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 10:07

By Emanuele del Rosso

Libya was a dictatorship from 1969 until 2011. Protests against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi began in mid-January 2011, with Libyans gathering to complain about political corruption. There were violent clashes with the police and numerous arrests. The protests escalated into a rebellion that quickly engulfed the entire country.

On 26 February 2011, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to refer the situation to the ICC. On 3 March, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo decided to open an official investigation. On 27 June, the OTP issued three arrest warrants:
  • Abdullah Al-Senussi was a colonel in the Libyan Armed Forces and is currently the head of military intelligence. Proceedings against him were terminated in 2014 as the case was declared inadmissible before the ICC.
  • Muammar Gaddafi was commander of the armed forces of Libya and held the title of Leader of the Revolution, and as such, he was the Libyan head of state. Proceedings against him were terminated in 2011 because of his death.
  • Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi was Libya’s de facto prime minister. He is allegedly criminally responsible for two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and persecution). He was arrested by the Libyan authorities in 2011. In 2014, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a non-compliance finding for the Libyan government regarding the case of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi. Gadaffi was sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes by the self-declared government in Tripoli. 
Why is the Libya situation at the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Lead image: Cartoon by Emanuele del Rosso/Justice Hub

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