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Libya’s day of shame at the International Criminal Court

10 5 0
14.11.2019

On Monday and Tuesday this week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) held a hearing for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s challenge to the admissibility of his case before the court. Gaddafi junior is accused by the ICC of crimes against humanity during the revolt against his father’s rule in 2011. Representing Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), the UN-recognised government based in Tripoli, were Minister of Justice Mohamed Lamloum and legal expert Ahmed Al-Jahani.

The hearing centred around one question: should the ICC pursue the case against him or should it leave it to the Libyan judiciary? The court is not expected to return its ruling before March next year at the earliest. If it decides to pursue the case, then the ICC will again call on the Libyan authorities to hand over the accused.

The court, as well as thousands of Libyans, got an unexpected surprise when both Lamloum and Al-Jahani agreed that the case is indeed admissible before the ICC, giving the international court the green light to proceed with prosecuting Gaddafi. They also indicated that, in the GNA’s opinion, he is now a fugitive despite the fact that he benefitted from the general amnesty law passed by the country’s only elected legislature in 2015.

READ: ICC upholds charges against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi

However, handing over a Libyan citizen to a foreign court is illegal. Article 493 of Libya’s criminal procedures law does not permit citizens to be extradited to stand trial before courts overseas unless it is done under bilateral agreements between Libya and the country involved, or specially agreed on arrangements. Furthermore, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi was tried and sentenced to death in Libya in July 2015. A few months later, the Tobruk-based parliament passed Law no 6........

© Middle East Monitor