“Screw the [International] Criminal Court”

by Kevin Jon Heller

So says Saif Gaddafi, who apparently has not been captured by the rebels after all:

Muammar Gaddafi’s once powerful son, Saif al-Islam, made a defiant appearance in Tripoli last night to disprove the revolutionaries’ claim to have arrested him and to proclaim ultimate victory.

Saif al-Islam, 39, arrived in an armoured vehicle waving two fingers in a victory sign at a hotel where foreign journalists are staying in an area of the Libyan capital still under the regime’s control.

“I am here to refute the lies [that he had been arrested],” he said.

As the revolutionaries consolidated their control over most of Tripoli and continued their hunt for Libya‘s dictator, the younger Gaddafi and one time heir apparent said that his father had not fled the city.

The BBC described Saif al-Islam as “confident and full of adrenalin”. He said that the rebels had fallen into “a trap” and would be defeated.

“You have seen how the Libyan people rose up together, men and women, to break the backbone of the rebels, rats and gangs yesterday and today,” he was reported to have said.

He then took reporters on a drive in an armoured convoy through areas of the city still under the regime’s control including the Gaddafi family compound and military barracks where scores of men waited to receive guns to join the fighting.

“We are going to hit the hottest spots in Tripoli,” he said.

The revolutionaries claimed to have arrested three of Gaddafi’s sons as they seized control of Tripoli. Saif al-Islam’s detention was confirmed by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is seeking to have him extradited to stand trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity over the violence unleashed by the regime against the uprising in which hundreds of unarmed people were shot. The ICC alleges that Saif al-Islam drew up and implemented the plan to violently put down the rebellion.

I have no idea why the rebels announced Saif’s capture — and even less idea why Moreno-Ocampo confirmed it before he had concrete evidence to support the rebels’ claim.  I do know, though, that this is a terrible blow to the ICC’s credibility, to say nothing of its prospects for turning the Security Council’s referral into an actual prosecution.

Stay tuned…

http://opiniojuris.org/2011/08/23/screw-the-international-criminal-court/

3 Responses

  1. Really interesting news. I still think that there is something fishy about Saif al-Islam’s role in Libya. There’s simply been too much silence regarding his fate prior to yesterday. I agree that it would be a hit to the ICC’s credibility if he had never been arrested. But given the confusion and misinformation, I think it’s still worthwhile keeping open the possibility that he was, in fact, arrested and subsequently released.

  2. Mark,

    I basically agree.  But I don’t think Moreno-Ocampo looks much better if he went public before he was certain that the rebels intended to turn Saif over.  And I’m not sure why the rebels would release him post-arrest — although, as you have pointed out, they may see him as the only member of the regime that is worth keeping around for the transition.  (Because of his PhD, no doubt…)

  3. Not just his PhD, but where he got it from. You are now 100% more likely to have an arrest warrant issued against you if you attend the LSE than University of Melbourne.

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