27 June 2011
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has today issued arrest warrants for Moammer Gadaffi, Saif-el-Islam Gadaffi and Abdulla Senussi on two charges of crimes against humanity: murder, and persecution.
Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) welcomes this decision and strongly believes that the issuance of these warrants publicly signals to the regime that impunity will not be tolerated for the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and those responsible for widespread atrocities. LFJL can confirm through its research on the ground that there is evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed.
The arrest warrants follow the application made by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on 16 May 2011, following the unprecedented unanimous referral by the UN Security Council to the Prosecutor of the ICC of the situation in Libya under UN Security Resolution 1970. The speed of both the referral and the issuance of the arrest warrants signifies the collective will of the international community to work toward a just, legitimate and democratic future for the Libyan people – a prospect we firmly believe can only be achieved through the transparency of an impartial and fair judicial process.
Moammer Gadaffi, Saif-el-Islam Gadaffi and Abdulla Senussi must now surrender themselves to face trial at the ICC. If they do not do so, the Libyan authorities have a legal obligation under UN Resolution 1970 to implement the warrants and to ensure that each is arrested and extradited to The Hague.
Every country has an obligation to deny those named in the arrest warrants safe haven and, if they seek to enter the territory of such country, to arrest them and surrender them to the ICC. In particular, LFJL welcomes the news of Tunisia’s accession to the Rome Statute, and calls on its support should any of those charged in the ICC’s warrants seek to flee through or go to ground in Tunisian territory.
LFLJ sees this process as an important first step towards Libya becoming a society governed by rule of law. LFJL is committed to defending rights of all Libyans, and will continue to support all lawful prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations.