By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 19 July 2014:
Libya is looking into the possibility of allowing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute those . . .[restrict]responsible for the recent violence in Tripoli and elsewhere, notably the attacks on Tripoli International Airport.
The Minister of Justice, Salah Marghani, discussed the idea with the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in The Hague yesterday, according to the Prime Minister’s office.
The move represents an abrupt about turn. Previously the Libya authorities had rejected the ICC’s demands to hand over Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi and Abdullah Senoussi, both of whom have been indicted by the ICC, saying they were capable of trying them in Libya.
The ICC cannot initiate prosecutions by itself. But it can take them on if they have been referred to it by the UN Security Coucil (as was the case with Saif Al-Islam and Senoussi) or if the government of a country where the incidents took place asks it to do so because it is incapable of doing so itself.
The Ministry of Justice had warned earlier this week that it was in consultation with international and national legal bodies about prosecuting those military groups which had refused its order to immediately stop the fighting and the launching of missile attacks.
“The situation is serious and all parties must realise that no one is above the law. If not today, they will be prosecuted in the future,” Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Lamin told the Libya Herald. “They are damaging facilities owned by all Libyans” he said.
The decision to possibly transfer authority for prosecution to the ICC appears to be directed at both Misratan and Zintani forces, their commanders and those behind them. [/restrict]