Libya: Send Saif Gaddafi to ICC

Following Libya release, Saif Gaddafi must be sent to The Hague

Reports emerged this week that International Criminal Court (ICC) suspect Saif Gaddafi — son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi —  has been released under an amnesty law by the Zintan-based Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion. Civil society and the ICC Prosecutor have called for his immediate arrest and surrender to The Hague.

"Helping a fugitive to escape justice must not be tolerated, and Mr Gaddafi must be surrendered to the custody of the Court," a statement from the Office of the Prosecutor read, calling for any information on Gaddafi's whereabouts to be transmitted to the ICC. "Accountability for Rome Statute crimes and the deterrent effect of the law are equally important components of achieving sustainable peace and stability in Libya."

An ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity was issued for Saif Gaddafi in June 2011 for his alleged role in the deadly repression of civilians during the Arab Spring uprising.

At the time, ICC arrest warrants were also issued for Muammar Gaddafi, director of military intelligence Abdullah Al-Senussi, and former head of the Libyan security agency Mohamed Khaled al-Tuhamy.

The warrant for al-Tuhamy also remains outstanding and was unsealed by the Court in mid-April 2017 in a bid to encourage the international community to cooperate with his arrest.

In 2014, Libyan authorities failed in their challenge to the admissibility of Saif Gaddafi’s case before the ICC, with ICC appeals judges confirming that Libya had not sufficiently proven that its national investigation covers the same case as the one before the ICC.

Libyan authorities, however, have failed to transfer Saif Gaddafi to ICC custody, with the Zintan militia detaining him refusing to hand him over to central government authorities. This matter was referred to the UN Security Council by ICC judges following a ruling that Libya had not complied with its obligations to cooperate under the terms of the Council’s referral of the Libya situation to the Court.

In 2015, a Libyan court in Tripoli sentenced  Saif Gaddafi, fellow ICC suspect Abdullah al-Senussi and seven other former government officials to death. The trial and verdicts generated an international outcry over allegations of serious due process violations. The ICC prosecutor and civil society groups urged the surrender of Saif Gaddafi to the ICC and called on Libya to not proceed with the execution. 

Amnesty International this week stated that previous failed attempts to bring Gaddafi to justice had contributed to his ill-advised release: "These serious violations and abuses by the Zintan and the Libyan authorities have thwarted justice in this case and undermined the rule of law in Libya.

"In any case, international law requires Libya to arrest and surrender him to the ICC, and no domestic amnesty can override this obligation."

Find out why Lawyers for Justice Libya are calling on the ICC to ramp up investigations in the country.

 

ICC investigations

Darfur, Sudan: In a report to the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor renewed calls for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to be arrested to face charges of war crimes, cimrs against humanity and genocide before the Court in order to end the country's culture of impunity and for justice to be brought to Darfuri victims.

DRC: The UN human rights chief has urged an international investigation into the upsurge in crimes that has been plaguing the DRC. Meanwhile the former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda took to the stand at the ICC on Wednesday to testify in defense of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC Appeals Chamber this week also confirmed the Court’s jurisdiction over war crimes of rape and sexual slavery counts in the case.

CAR: CAR civil society stated that the historical visit of the Prosecutor in CAR is a strong message to those who committed war crimes against civil populations and gives hope to the victims who have waiting for a long time.

Kenya: Human Rights Watch has warned that continued insecurity in Kenya, linked to a rise in unimpeded Al-Shabab attacks, threatens to prevent the population from participating in the country's August elections.

Read more on the challenges of the upcoming 2017 elections in Kenya.

 

ICC preliminary examinations

Ukraine: For the 4th year of the conflict in East Ukraine, a new United Nations report reveals that hostilities have been escalating because warring parties have repeatedly failed to implement ceasefire agreements, while more files on alleged war crimes committed by the Kiev government troops have been submitted to the International Criminal Court.

Palestine: The Palestinian Authority has reportedly decided to ease up efforts to actively pursue Israel at the ICC. The final decision on the opening of an investigation remains in the hands of the ICC prosecutor writes academic David Bosco.

Find out more about civil society's call for Israel to address human rights violations in the occupied territories.

 

Campaign for Global Justice

The Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions — a set of guiding principles to protect civilians in times of conflict — turned 40 this week, reaffirming their value in maintaining a "minimum of humanity in war."

Fourteen Serbian NGOs joined forces to publish a statement urging the government to cooperate with international institutions and ensure that high-ranking officials are prosecuted for war crimes.

A UN independent expert has advocated for states to respect their human rights obligations by providing better support and protection to victims of gender-based violence.

 

Around the world

Amnesty International has called the arrest by a Turkish court of Taner Kilic, the chairman of its Turkish branch,  on charges of membership in a terror organization, a "devastating injustice" and demanded his release.

After his arrest in September 2016, Judge Aydin Sefa Akay was sentenced by a Turkish criminal court to a term of seven years and six months’ imprisonment on a single charge of being a member of a terrorist organization and has been provisionally released pending appeal.

Three years after amendments to the statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights were proposed to cover ICC crimes, the Malabo Protocol  has no ratifications from the 50-plus members of the African Union.

 

About The Uncondemned : documentary film and impact campaign

"The Uncondemned" tells the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify and win justice where there had been none. Up until this point, rape had not been prosecuted as a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller and personal human drama, "The Uncondemned" beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial at an international criminal court -and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever. 19 June is the International Day for International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Read more on The Uncondemned website and host a documentary screenings.

 

Have your say: Which global justice news stories have caught your eye this week?