What's In Blue

Posted Tue 15 May 2012

ICC Prosecutor to Brief on Libya

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 16 May), the Council will receive its third briefing on Libya from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Moreno-Ocampo is expected to update the Council on recent activities of the Office of the Prosecutor on the situation in Libya, particularly regarding Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who was arrested on 19 November. As with the two previous Libya ICC briefings, on 4 May and 2 November last year, no Council outcome is anticipated.

It seems that Moreno-Ocampo will focus on the interaction between the ICC and the Libyan government concerning Libya’s willingness and capacity to hold fair trials for Saif Qaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi. (The ICC issued arrest warrants for Saif Qaddafi, son of the late Col. Muammar Qaddafi, and Abdullah al-Senussi, former intelligence chief and Col. Qaddafi’s brother-in-law, on 27 June 2011. They are accused of crimes against humanity, allegedly committed across Libya through the state apparatus in the second half of February 2011. Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested in Mauritania on 16 March, where he remains for now.)

Council members will likely be interested in an update on the contentious issue of where the accused will be tried, including the formal submission presented by Libya to the ICC in early May requesting that the two be tried on Libyan soil- not in The Hague. During a visit to Libya in April, Moreno-Ocampo said that it was up to the Libyan authorities to make their case to the ICC judges—who will ultimately decide whether to remand the case to a Libyan court—for being able to conduct fair trials for the detainees.

It seems that the Prosecutor is also going to brief Council members on gender crimes in Libya, where rape and other forms of sexual violence were reportedly used by forces loyal to Col. Qaddafi. Moreno-Ocampo is also likely to report on other alleged crimes committed by different parties, including the allegation of crimes committed by NATO forces as well as by forces under the auspices of the National Transitional Council. The issue of civilian casualties resulting from the NATO campaign, which has been an ongoing point of contention among Council members, was again raised by Russia during Council consultations on Libya on 10 May.

Moreno-Ocampo is also expected to report on the alleged detention of civilians suspected of being mercenaries and the alleged execution of detained combatants.

It seems that several Council members are likely to express support for the ICC Prosecutor’s work and emphasise the need for the international community to hold to account individuals responsible for the alleged crimes, either through Libya’s own courts or the ICC. Others are likely to also highlight the need for follow up to the Council’s previous resolutions, in particular resolution 1970 (2011) which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, and stress the importance of holding to account those responsible for all attacks on civilians.

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