Admissibility of the International Criminal Court's case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi confirmed

April 9, 2019

Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber I decision confirming the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi. LFJL calls on the Libyan state and the international community to ensure Mr Gaddafi’s surrender to the ICC to face trial.

Pre-Trial Chamber I’s decision, issued on 5 April 2019, confirmed that the case against Mr Gaddafi is admissible and is not in contravention with the principle of ne bis in idem (that nobody should be judged twice for the same offence). Mr Gaddafi challenged the case against him on the basis he had been convicted for similar crimes by the Tripoli Criminal Court in 2015, and that he was lawfully released pursuant to Law No. 6 of 2015, which provided him amnesty. The ICC warrant for Mr Gaddafi’s arrest, issued in 2011, remains outstanding.

Pre-Trial Chamber I’s decision, noting LFJL and Redress’s amicus curiae submission,stresses that granting amnesties for international crimes is incompatible with international human rights law. States have a clear obligation to investigate,prosecute and punish perpetrators. Amnesties for grave crimes deny victims their right to truth, justice, as well as the opportunity to seek reparations.

Elham Saudi, LFJL’s Director, stated “as the situation in Libya again deteriorates and becomes increasingly uncertain, the confirmation of the admissibility of Mr Gaddafi’s case highlights the importance of the ICC as the sole avenue to access justice in Libya. The decision comes at a poignant time, foregrounding the need for recommitment to the rule of law and the need for Libya to establish effective and sustainable accountability mechanisms to end impunity for grave crimes.”

LFJLreissues its call to the Libyan state actively to facilitate the surrender of Mr Gaddafi to the ICC. Further, LFJL reminds the international community of their ongoing responsibility to support efforts to effect the arrest and surrender of Mr Gaddafi. Finally, LFJL takes this opportunity to reiterate the need for action to enforce the outstanding arrest warrants against Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For more information about LFJL’s work on ICC victim participation see our Accountability and Transitional Justice programme.

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