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Breaking News: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son, Saif, and Libyan Chief of Intelligence

From the ICC Press Release:

Today, 27 June 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued three warrants of arrest respectively for Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi for crimes against humanity (murder and persecution) allegedly committed across Libya from 15 February 2011 until at least 28 February 2011, through the State apparatus and Security Forces.

The Chamber, composed of Judges Sanji Mmasenono Monageng (Presiding), Sylvia Steiner and Cuno Tarfusser, considered that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the three suspects committed the alleged crimes and that their arrests appear necessary in order to ensure their appearances before the Court; to ensure that they do not continue to obstruct and endanger the Court’s investigations; and to prevent them from using their powers to continue the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

The situation in Libya was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council, through the unanimous adoption of Resolution 1970 on 26 February 2011. The Security Council decided, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, that “the Libyan authorities shall cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor pursuant to this resolution” and, while recognizing that States not party to the Rome Statute have no obligations under the Statute, the Security Council urged all States and concerned regional and other international organisations to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor.

On 3 March 2011, the ICC Prosecutor decided to open an investigation and requested, on 16 May 2011, the issuance of the arrest warrants.

More information on this case is available here.

It will be very interesting to see what, if any, effect these warrants will have on the on-going conflict. A logical response would be for Gaddafi to dig his heals in rather than try to negotiate an arrangement to leave peacefully. We shall see.

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Welcome! Who am I?



Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.