Judges at the ICC are set to hear two days of arguments from Libya and the Saif al-Islam’s ICC Defence counsel over where Libya’s former heir apparent should be brought to justice. As readers will know, the question of where to try Saif and Abdullah al-Senussi has been a major theme covered in this blog over the last year and a half. While it’s hard to predict how the ICC judges will ultimately rule, it is clear that the relationship between the Court and the Libyan government leaves a lot to be desired. In this vein, I wanted to share with readers an article that I’ve just had published at Foreign Policy, which covers the tumultuous fight over where to try Saif and Senussi. The argument reflects that of a longer, academic chapter that I have posted on academia.edu. Here’s a taste:
Libya’s embattled transitional government is not only struggling to appoint a cabinet, disarm its powerful militias, and deal with the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. It is also locked in a tense battle with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over where to try Muammar al-Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and the former regime’s mysterious intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi. Since the fall of Qaddafi’s regime and the assertion of a newly sovereign Libya, the ICC’s intervention has degenerated into a controversial and, at times, acrimonious battle between Libya’s new rulers and the Court over where the highly prized indictees should be tried. Over the past year, Libya’s transitional government has sought to demonstrate its effective sovereignty to its citizens and the world by proving itself able and willing to prosecute senior members of the Qaddafi regime. At the same time, the ICC has striven to establish itself as an effective institution that can have positive effects on post-conflict accountability. However, the fight over where to try Saif and Senussi may ultimately serve to undermine the aims of both the ICC and Libya — not to mention the pursuit of post-Qaddafi justice.
For more, continue here.
Thanks as always for your readership and interest in JiC!