Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Responses to Arguments about the Effects of the ICC's Libya Investigation

Given the recent ICC investigation in Libya and the recent decision to issue arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi and other senior leadership of Libya, here are some responses to persistent claims about the Court's involvement:

1. The arrest warrants on Gaddafi will prevent him from leaving the country, therefore unnecessarily prolonging the violence.

Response: The international community decided in a Security Council resolution that Gaddafi should be prosecuted. When it has jurisdiction, the Court believes that it must prosecute if the evidence justifies it. Only the Security Council, not the Court is qualified make the very political choice between peace and justice. That choice must be case by case. With Gaddafi, there is no indication that he would leave if the ICC did not exist. There is no evidence that the IOCC is affecting the decisions of Gaddafi.

2. The Court is impotent; its warrants can’t be enforced; Gaddafi won’t be arrested.

Response: Milosevic and Charles Taylor are examples of heads of states now being or recently tried by international tribunals after governments arrested them. The ICC now has 6 high ranking leaders in detention and at various stages of prosecution, including military leaders and a former vice-president. The Libyan Interim National Council declared that it wants to arrest and deliver Gaddafi. After ICC States Parties are counted, the number of countries willing to harbor Gaddafi is quite small.

3. The arrest warrant charges against Gaddafi and his son are too limited, the prosecutor acted too fast

Response: The first round of arrest warrants charge only the crimes against humanity of murder and persecution. The Prosecutor was obligated to respond as soon as possible to the Security Council request for prosecution. Only the immediately available evidence for these crimes against humanity met his high standard for evidence in support of arrest warrants. In order to save time and the Court’s limited resources of staff and money, the Prosecutor insists on being sure that evidence used for arrest warrant be fully suitable to be used in the other proceedings all the way through trial. As evidence of other ICC crimes by Gaddafi is compiled and verified, the prosecutor will ask the judges to add more charges to the warrants.

Photo: ICC-CPI

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