The International Bar Association (IBA) is concerned by recent media reports that the domestic trial against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi is about to commence in Tripoli, in spite of on-going proceedings before the International Criminal Court (ICC), including an unexecuted order for the immediate surrender of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to the seat of the court in The Hague. The IBA urges the Libyan authorities to facilitate Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s surrender to The Hague as soon as possible.
The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber in its admissibility decision in the Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi case – while recognising important milestones reached by the Libyan authorities in improving security conditions, rebuilding institutions and restoring rule of law – identified substantial difficulties being faced by Libya in exercising its judicial powers across its territory. Consequently, the Pre-Trial Chamber concluded that the Libyan judicial system was not currently in a position to conduct domestic proceedings consistent with international standards, and has asked Libya to surrender Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi to the Court.
The IBA’s Executive Director, Dr Mark Ellis, stated: ‘Libya has made noteworthy progress in establishing the rule of law in the face of significant challenges in its transition to a stable democracy. However, Security Council Resolution 1970, referring the situation in Libya to the ICC, legally obliges Libya to fully comply with all Court orders.’ He added, ‘In the meantime, Libya should continue to rebuild its institutions so that it can ensure that individuals accused of criminal conduct during the Gaddafi-era are brought to account for their crimes in full adherence to fundamental fair trial guarantees and international law. Libya’s expeditious compliance with the ICC’s orders will also demonstrate its on-going commitment to international justice, thereby bolstering its recognition internationally. In this respect, the international community has an obligation to provide assistance to Libya in support of its transition.’
The situation in Libya was referred to the ICC with the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 on 26 February 2011. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC issued arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi on 27 June 2011. The case against Muammar Gaddafi was terminated on 22 November 2011 following his death. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son on Muammar Gaddafi, was arrested and has been under detention in the province of Zintan in Libya since November 2011. Abdullah Al-Senussi, the chief of intelligence of the ousted Gaddafi government, was arrested in March 2012 and was extradited to Libya by Mauritania in September 2012. The Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the admissibility challenge of the Government of Libya in the case against Mr Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi on 31 May 2013. The admissibility challenge of the Government of Libya in the case of Mr Al-Senussi is pending before the Pre-Trial Chamber. Libya is currently under an international obligation to surrender Mr Gaddafi to the Court following the orders of the Pre-Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber of the ICC, whereas, the issue of the admissibility of Mr Al-Senussi’s case is still pending. This means that the order for Mr Al-Senussi’s surrender to the Court has been suspended until a determination of the admissibility issues has been made.
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Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
International Bar Association
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