Ayed: Which current or former international leader should be prosecuted by the ICC and why?

By: /
May 7, 2012

The ideal scenario for Libya would be to try Moammar Ghaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam on Libyan soil. This was articulately argued recently by international lawyers helping the country fend off demands of his extradition by the ICC to answer to allegations of crimes against humanity. It is a “historic opportunity to eradicate the long-standing culture of impunity,” the Libyan government argued. However, recent statements from Libya’s defence minister and head of the militia holding Ghaddafi in Zintan have stirred fresh concerns about the country’s ability to provide him with the fair and safe trial the government is promising. Osama al-Jiwaili suggested Ghaddafi would be tried in the remote town of Zintan, instead of the capital Tripoli, where the government maintains it will furnish proper facilities for the proceedings. This, on top of other concerns already raised by human rights organizations (like his lack of access so far to a defence lawyer, and, no less significantly, the summary execution of his father) suggests Libya perhaps isn’t yet in the best position to give Ghaddafi a proper trial. It may be time to hand him over to the ICC until Libya can prove otherwise—a move that will not only show its willingness to abide by international law, but one that also does not prevent Libyan authorities from trying him at home in the future.