Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Arresting Qadhafi

The primary responsibility for arresting Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi and two others sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) rests with the North African nation, the tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor said today, a day after warrants were issued for the three men for alleged crimes against humanity.

Mr. Qadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and the head of the Libya’s intelligence forces, Abdullah Al Sanousi, are being sought for their roles in attacks against protesters, hundreds of whom are confirmed to have been killed since opposition forces rose up against the regime as part of a wider pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East.

“Today, it is time for arrest. Let me clarify who should arrest them and how they can do it,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo told a news conference in The Hague, where the Court is based.

Libya – although not a State party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC – has the primary responsibility to carry out the arrest warrants, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said, noting that it is obligated to comply with Security Council resolution 1970, which was adopted in February.  In that resolution, the Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC and specifically called on the country to “cooperate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court and the Prosecutor.”

“Qadhafi’s inner circle is the first option: they can be part of the problem and be prosecuted, or they can be part of the solution, work together with the other Libyans and stop the crimes,” he stated.

The second option is the Interim National Council, which represents the opposition and has expressed its willingness to implement the arrest warrants, he added.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo noted that the international forces operating in Libya under Security Council resolution 1973, which was adopted in March and authorized States to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians amid the regime’s violent crackdown against its own people, have no specific mandate to carry out arrest warrants.  The Prosecutor added that if Mr. Qadhafi travels to a State party to the ICC, he should be arrested.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that it has received reports of significant displacement in the Nafusa mountains, which has been the scene of intense fighting between Government forces and opposition groups since mid-March.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that, since the start of the conflict, more than 64,000 Libyans have been displaced from the Nafusa Mountains and other parts of western Libya into Tunisia, where they are largely hosted by local communities.  As of Sunday, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been able to deliver, through partners, a total of 546 tons of food for more than 100,000 people in the mountains.  However, UN agencies have so far been unable to gain access to the Nafusa mountains to undertake assessments and monitor the delivery of assistance. OCHA says that an inter-agency mission into the Nafusa mountains remains a priority to accurately determine humanitarian needs.

(UN Press Release)

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