Gaddafi et al. – local or international justice?

20 October 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

The death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has sparked speculation about what this means for international justice. Obviously, the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in June, will die with him.

But his son Saif al-Islam and spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi are still being sought by the ICC in The Hague, for murder and persecution allegedly committed across Libya in February, through the state apparatus and security forces.

There have been calls to put Gaddafi et al. on trial in Libya, by the rebel National Transitional Council, echoed by France and Britain. Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi, if captured – or if they surrender – will face trial at the ICC, which was authorised to investigate the situation in Libya, by the UN Security Council.

As a result, the ICC – the world’s criminal court – has first say. So, the two must face trial in The Hague, not in Tripoli.

Cairo - why not Tripoli?
With Egypt's Hosni Mubarak on trial in Cairo, many are asking whether the National Transitional Council (NTC) could put other members of Gaddafi’s former regime on trial in Tripoli.

Libya has not signed up as a member of the ICC and as the court does not have its own police force, there’s no one available to go and arrest the ‘wanted men’ - Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.