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ICC: Libya Should Comply With Court’s Ruling
Human Rights Watch
31 May 2013
Libya should abide by the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision on May 31, 2013, and turn over Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the court.

The court’s rejection of Libya’s bid to prosecute Gaddafi, the son of Muammar Gaddafi, nationally obligates the authorities there to surrender him immediately for proceedings in The Hague (…). The ICC judges held that Libya had not provided enough evidence to demonstrate that it was investigating the same case as the one before the ICC and that it was able genuinely to carry out an investigation of Gaddafi. (…)

Gaddafi is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity for his alleged role in trying to suppress the 2011 uprising that led to his father’s overthrow. The ICC judges had been considering a legal bid by Libya to prosecute Gaddafi nationally for these crimes.

If a concerned country wants to try an ICC suspect itself for the crimes covered by an ICC arrest warrant, the authorities may challenge the court’s jurisdiction over the case through a legal submission called an “admissibility challenge.” On May 1, 2012, Libya challenged the admissibility of the ICC case against Gaddafi and was granted permission to postpone his surrender to the ICC, pending a decision by the court’s judges on the challenge.

At the time, the ICC judges made clear that Libya had to take all necessary measures during the postponement period to ensure that Gaddafi could be immediately surrendered to the ICC if it rejected Libya’s challenge.

Security Council resolution 1970, which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, requires the Libyan authorities to cooperate fully with the court – a binding requirement under the United Nations Charter, even though Libya is not a party to the treaty that established the court. (…) Members of the UN Security Council, who unanimously gave the ICC jurisdiction to investigate the situation in Libya, should send a strong message to the authorities there to cooperate with the court, Human Rights Watch said.

Libya has promised to abide by its obligations. In a recent submission to the ICC, Libya said it “does not dispute that it is bound by Security Council Resolution 1970.” (…) 

In its admissibility challenge, Libya said that it was actively investigating Gaddafi for the same underlying allegations of murder and persecution that form the basis for the ICC arrest warrant against him. Libya said that it was willing and able to investigate Gaddafi and, as appropriate, to prosecute him. (…)

(…) it is ultimately up to the ICC judges to determine whether national proceedings exist that meet the criteria for a successful admissibility challenge.


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