Thursday, October 11, 2012

Libya Pleads Case for Trying Qaddafi Itself

Libya appeared before the International Criminal Court this week to make its case that Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif el-Islam Gaddafi, should be tried in Libyan courts. (credit for photo of Gaddafi shortly after his capture by rebel forces)
Libya's legal team, which includes Payam Akhavan, McGill Law professor and former prosecutor at the ad hoc tribunals, told the court that Libya needs time to organize a fair trial for Qaddafi. Libya denied allegations by the ICC lawyer appointed on Gaddafi's behalf, Melinda Taylor (prior post), that Gaddafi has been physically mistreated while in Libyan custody. Responding that the court should not trust Libya's claims, Taylor spoke about how the government assured her that it would respect her privileges as Gaddafi's counsel on Libyan territory, and then jailed her for nearly a month once she arrived. She also argued that a trial in Libya would mean certain death for her client:
'This trial is not motivated by a desire for justice but a desire for revenge, and there is no right to revenge under international law . . . Mr Gaddafi is not a guinea pig. He is a person with rights. He should not be languishing in prison while Libya tries to build a judicial system.'
She also argued that the ICC would lose international legitimacy if it permits Gaddafi to be tried in Libya, where it is in her view apparent to the world that he cannot receive a fair trial. If the ICC finds that Libya cannot try Gaddafi fairly, the state's failure to hand him over to the court would violate international law, but the ICC cannot force Libya to comply.
As IntLawGrrls have posted, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi on 27 June 2011. The warrant was based on a finding that there are reasonable grounds to believe that he participated as an indirect co-perpetrator in the killing of civilians who were demonstrating against his father's regime, and that those acts of murder and persecution constituted crimes against humanity.

No comments: