Libya and the ICC
Libya and the ICC
Libya is right to stand up to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and insist that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi be tried on home soil.
Justice minister Ali Khalifa Ashur argued that the ICC had agreed that Libya could hold its own trial, but the court denies this.
In fact, on April 4 the ICC officially rejected Libya’s “Second Postponement Request” and insisted that Libya “…proceed immediately with the surrender of Mr. Gaddafi to the Court.”
Remember the original justification for the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
That these countries – Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, etc.., – were incapable of delivering justice, being either failed states of having disintegrated?
Well, now that Libya’s government has reconstituted itself, the ICC wants first dibs on suspected war criminals… Talk about mission creep…
In reality, Libya is not as stable as NATO politicians claim, because that instability undermines the pretext for intervention. However, Libya is certainly stable enough to be able to provide a trial for Saif Gaddafi.
In fact, Saif would probably get a fairer trial in Libya than in The Hague, where many international lawyers believe that the lead Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, withheld potentially exonerating evidence from the defense of a Congolese defendant.
Besides, Moreno-Ocampo might have a vendetta against the entire Gaddafi clan. Soon after the 2011 conflict broke out, Moreno-Ocampo said he was “100% certain” that Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya could be prosecuted for war crimes. There was no process of gathering forensic evidence, no talking to witnesses, and no taking several years to write the report, etc…
The ICC was willing to begin with a presumption of guilt and then cobble together a prosecution, apparently with the help of unsubstantiated youtube videos.
This author has no idea if Saif Gaddafi is guilty of anything. This question should be for Libyans alone to decide.
It is still fair to point out, however, that the Gaddafi government never faced a purely “civilian Facebook protest” but rather an “armed insurrection” supported and funded by NATO.
NATO then finished an insurrection that was too weak to overcome the government on its own.
Sitting governments have a responsibility to put down armed insurrections, and as a result, there is a high threshold for culpability in these cases. There is no evidence that the Gaddafi family engaged in “ethnic cleansing” or the wanton “destruction of town and cities” – the kinds of things specifically prohibited by the Geneva Convention.
Moreover, in the western media, there was a whole lot of yellow journalism, going on…
In order to justify NATO’s intervention, the western public was inundated with stories of “Viagra-fueled rapes,” and “tortured children” and “dead babies,” all torn from the regime-change playbook.
The mass media of the United States, Europe and Israel is especially prone to kind of non-stop, sensationalist, hysterical propaganda.
In reality, when sitting governments face armed insurrections they tend to hone in, like laser beams, on armed groups. They develop sophisticated and precise strategies to counter these armed groups. That is where the threat is coming from, after all.
Indiscriminately targeting civilians is really bad politics. But to insist that it is happening sells papers and boosts ratings – and drives a military agenda.
Libya’s government is correct to challenge the ICC, so there is some hope that the new government will not be a puppet government.
But Libya has not gone far enough, one might note, if one values “national sovereignty” as a principle. Libya is still making arguments and counter-arguments within the framework of the ICC’s Rome Statute, which has been described as “a thicket of overlapping rules.”
Articles 94 and 95 allow Libya to postpone delivery of a suspect if there is an ongoing “investigation” or an “admissibility challenge.”
But the Court has rejected these claims and insists that Saif be airlifted to The Hague (the potato-sack routine).
Advocates for the ICC point to Article 89, among others, which establishes that Libya must comply with arrest warrant, but the Article says nothing about timing.
So everyone gets lost in the thicket.
Libya’s government should remember that the United States, Russia and China are NOT members of the ICC, nor subject to its jurisdiction, because of its Alice-in-Wonderland proceedings (among other reasons).
A first reason for rejecting the ICC is that it violates the basic principles of jurisprudence. Its “jurors,” for example, are not chosen randomly but instead appointed by the ICC itself. The ICC has wide discretion in admitting hearsay evidence.
Appeals are not heard by another court. Nor are they heard by an assembly of states. Instead, appeals circle back to the ICC, which decides for itself if its earlier ruling was in error. The Court does not even answer to any Constitution, unlike the highest courts of other nations.
A second reason for refusing to recognize the ICC is that this court violates national sovereignty, making it difficult for nations to evolve autonomous and effective judicial systems.
There is a third reason for rejecting the authority of the ICC. The Court does not dispense its brand of justice outside of Machiavellian politics.
It is clear that the ICC reflects the agendas of a western alliance: the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, among others.
International criminal law is a tool of power, and, as such, the ICC will always reflect its abuse. This is already evident with the ICC’s obsession with prosecuting Africans and participating in the neo-colonial, Madison Avenue “Kony 2012” campaign.
It is time for more people to stand up against the ICC and formally revoke, one nation at a time, the pretensions, offenses and very existence of the International Criminal Court.
In a perfect world, Libya’s leaders would sign their names to a single sheet of paper, with letterhead, addressed to the ICC. It might read something like:
“The government of Libya hereby revokes the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court. Thank you for your time.”
What’s the worst that can happen, besides the ICC’s Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, blowing a gasket?
Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D. / multipolarfuture.com