CICC: Libya - a new task for ICC

02 March 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

The International Criminal Court has much work to do, especially since the landmark decision by the UN Security Council Saturday, to refer the case of Libya to the court. But how long will it take to prosecute suspects? A conversation with William Pace, Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), a global coalition of 2,500 NGOs.

Will the ICC have to investigate the situation in Libya now?
No. The referral by the UNSC does not automatically trigger an ICC investigation as the court operates independently of the UN. It will now fall to the prosecutor to analyse the seriousness of the information received and decide if there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation. In this process, he could seek additional information from States, the UN, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations or other reliable sources. Unfortunately states and international and regional organisations have not always been consistent with this obligation as we have seen in other cases. Hence it could take months or years before a suspect could be brought to The Hague.

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