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Category: Muammar Gaddafi

ICC or Libya, Who Should Try Gaddafi?

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Says Libya, ICC disagrees

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has stated that it should be up to the new Libyan National Transitional Government (NTC) whether Muammar Gaddafi, once captured, is tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, or in Libya.  This seems to me to be a rather strange statement, and apparently the ICC thinks so too.

Ambassador Rice asserted in an interview with CNN that "This is something that must be decided not by the United States or any other government, but by the people of Libya and by the interim transitional government that we expect will soon be constituted.  These are all choices that the Libyan people will ultimately have to make for them."

But the ICC disagrees with Ambassador Rice.  Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo reportedly has said that the Court, rather than Libyans, must make the decision on where Gaddafi and his fellow indictees will be tried.

The ICC opened its investigation into Libya after the situation was unanimously referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).  The ICC issued arrest warrants on June 27th for Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Sanousi, the Head of the Military Intelligence, for crimes against humanity after Prosecutor Ocampo's request was approved by the Court's Pre-Trial Chamber.  In order for a trial to be held in Libya instead of by the ICC, the principle of complementarity would have to be honored-in other words, the new government in Libya would have to show that it is both willing and able to try the defendants in their home country without ICC involvement.  Given the current state of the nation and its legal framework after four decades of Gaddafi's dictatorship, it seems unlikely to me that this standard could be met.

Libya Update: Saif Gaddafi Still At Large

Saif Gaddafi

A day after the Libyan National Transitional Council (TNC) claimed it had captured Saif Gaddafi--son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who, like his father, is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity--Saif appeared this morning to refute this story and currently remains at large.  Meantime, fighting continues in Tripoli between rebel and pro-Gaddafi forces.  CGS will continue to provide updates on Libya as events unfold.

What is Really Important in Libya

Senator Kerry on SFRC

I recently attended a hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the situation in Libya and the War Powers Resolution. The hearing's main witness was Harold Koh, Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, who said that President Obama did not need to seek Congressional approval for the conflict in Libya because it did not amount to "hostilities" as defined in the War Powers Resolution. Despite the obvious inter-branch power struggle that was evident throughout the hearing, I think it is important to look at the big picture when it comes to the situation in Libya.

At one point, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, alluded to the most important facet regarding the NATO operation in Libya:

 "It is my firm personal belief that America's values and interests compelled us to join other nations in establishing the no-fly zone over Libya. By keeping Gaddafi's most potent weapons out of the fight, I am positively convinced that we saved thousands of civilians from being massacred."

Senator Kerry understands that Gaddafi was committing atrocities against his own people and needed to be stopped. On the other hand, several senators seemed to imply that the U.S. had no compelling interest to intervene to prevent mass atrocities in Libya. In fact, the U.S. does have an interest in promoting democracy in the Middle East and preventing mass atrocities throughout the world. In 2005, UN member states unanimously endorsed the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which ensures that the international community will intervene when states fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

Ocampo Defends ICC Effectiveness of Gadaffi Arrest Warrant

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo

One day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo showed whole-hearted optimism that the incited war criminal and his regime will be ousted in the very near future. Ocampo appealed to the signatory states of the ICC to fully participate in Gaddafi's arrest when he stated, "If we have enough energy within the states, in two, three months its game over."

Ocampo further emphasized Libya's role as a member state of the United Nations in his remarks on Tuesday

"Libya has the primary responsibility to implement the arrest warrants. Libya is not a State Party of the Rome Statute, but it is a member of the United Nations since 1955. Libya has to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1970, which specifically called on Libya to 'cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor'."

Ocampo also addressed the criticism that the Gadaffi's arrest may not happen right away. He said, "It's a matter of time. See what happened with Mladic? Bashir's destiny is to face justice, Gadhafi will face justice. The arrest warrants are not going away."

Press Release: Libya Warrants: A Milestone in International Justice

ICC issues warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam, and intelligence chief A

In issuing an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi, the International Criminal Court has demonstrated yet again that tyrants and human rights abusers around the world -- even if they are heads of state -- will not enjoy immunity from international law, and will be held responsible for their crimes, said today.

Melissa Kaplan, Deputy Director of Government Relations at and Coordinator of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC) said,

"This ruling is an important first step towards securing peace and justice for victims in Libya and a critical development in the international justice movement."

A panel of three judges at the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court ruled yesterday that evidence presented by Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo showed reasonable grounds that Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and his intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi committed crimes against humanity in a violent government crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrations in Libya earlier this year. The judges issued the warrants to ensure that the three men appear before the ICC, to prevent further interference in the on-going investigation, and halt the commission of additional crimes.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 requires Libya to cooperate with the Court, but its leaders have already indicated they will not do so. The resolution mandates all ICC member states around the world turn Gaddafi and his allies into the Court if he should step foot on their soil. It also urges states not party to the Rome Statute to assist in the capture of the accused war criminals.

Kaplan said,

Time for a UN With a Protection Force in Libya

UN Peacekeeper

As posted in the Huffington Post

I recently returned from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where I gave a speech on UN reform at a conference on "Global Strategic Developments: A Futuristic Vision".  It was an incredibly interesting place to get a perspective on the conflict in Libya. Speakers at the conference included the UAE's Foreign Minister, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The participants at the conference were from around the Arab world, Europe, the U.S., and many other nations.

There seems to be a general consensus that while the "no fly zone" will not stop the conflict in Libya, it is a necessary evil. Gaddafi has gone too far. I've heard comments like, "Gaddafi is crazy. No one should do this to his people."

While simply denying him his air force and armor has not stopped the fighting, it has stopped Gaddafi's ability to use his planes to strike at peaceful protesters.  But in Libya, the protesters of a few weeks ago have either hunkered down or are now part of the opposition force.

The no fly zone has bought opposition fighters more time and evened the odds.  And it has had another important impact: if Gaddafi had been allowed to overwhelm the Libyan opposition, it would have sent a chilling message to other beleaguered leaders facing popular protest that it was okay to use unmitigated violence to maintain power.

Press Release: CGS Applauds Passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1970 Referring Libya to the ICC

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: applauds the passage of Resolution 1970 by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which condemns the recent attacks on civilians by the Libyan regime, and the unanimous vote to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation into potential war crimes.