ICC Press Conference on Issuing of Libya warrants

Posted on June 28, 2011. Filed under: ICC |

This afternoon, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo held a press conference and briefing on the arrest warrants issued yesterday for Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi. I have added the YouTube clip of the briefing below.

The issuing of the warrants has been met with disappointment by the South African government, however. According to presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa in a report in the Pretoria News, “President Zuma is extremely disappointed and concerned over the issuing of a warrant by the International Criminal Court against Colonel Gaddafi.” The African Union’s high-level ad hoc committee on Libya met in Pretoria last weekend, and Kodwa commented that this had resulted in “commitment now from both the Libyan authority led by Colonel Gaddafi and the Transitional National Council.” (Full article in the Pretoria News)


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One Response to “ICC Press Conference on Issuing of Libya warrants”

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As disappointment by the issuing of arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi registers in certain quarters on the African continent, more than ever, it is time to pick up on the stalled talks concerning the establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC) Liaison Office in Africa. The situation in Libya is the second, after Darfur, Sudan where a warrant of arrest has been issued by the ICC for a sitting head of State engaged in negotiations for peace under the auspices of the African Union (AU). Such a Liaison Office would, among many other objectives, inform processes at the ICC of the efforts by the AU to quell ongoing violence and similarly inform the AU of judicial processes at the ICC. Hopefully interventions by the ICC itself in the negotiation processes by the AU may contribute to the two bodies reading from the same page of the situations under analysis. It is certainly not beneficial to cry over spilled milk when it was clear in May 2011 that the ICC Prosecutor had applied to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC for the warrants of arrest. The provisions of the Rome Statute that established the ICC are clear – the Pre-Trial shall reach a decision on such applications by the Prosecutor. There was a 50% chance that the Pre-Trial Chamber would issue the warrants for arrest at the time of and during the course of consideration of the Prosecutor’s application. The African leaders knew or ought to have known that. How can the dissenting opinions to the issuing of these warrants then cry foul when opportunities (presented as an ICC Liaison Office in Africa) to bridge the gap between the AU and ICC are not being explored? The negotiation processes between African leaders and the Libyan authority led by Colonel Gaddafi and the Transitional National Council are a political process, while the Pre-Trial Chambers functions are judicial. The situation in Darfur, Sudan ought to inform the relevant stakeholders of the apparent tensions between the two processes. African leaders cannot keep shuttling between the continent’s capitals for meetings in the name of negotiations for peace while victims of international crimes keep increasing by the day. We cannot also expect the ICC to depart from its mandate explicitly given to it by its founding treaty, which the African continent forms the largest regional block in terms of ratifications. It is still not too late to bridge the gap between the AU and the ICC, but action needs to be taken now.

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