Libya Ignores the ICC

by Kevin Jon Heller

Ben Emmerson, counsel for al-Senussi, has asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to refer Libya to the Security Council for ignoring its February 6 decision ordering Libya to transfer al-Senussi to the Court. Here are the key paragraphs:

3. It has been almost six weeks since the Chamber‟s Order of 6 February, and Libya has failed to comply with every one of these instructions. Libya has failed to make any attempt to transfer Mr. Al-Senussi to the ICC and continues to detain him in Libya in violation of Security Council Resolution 1970 and the orders and requests of the ICC. Libya has ignored a formal request from the Registry to send representatives to The Hague to make arrangements to facilitate Mr. Al-Senussi‟s transfer and has not taken any other action to arrange his surrender.

4. Instead, the Libyan authorities continue to detain Mr. Al-Senussi, and are actively preparing to commence his trial in Libya as soon as possible. In so doing Libya has also violated the injunction contained within the Chamber‟s 6 February Order to the effect that Libya must refrain from any action which could hinder or delay his immediate transfer to the ICC.

5. Libya has also ignored the third order made by the Chamber requiring arrangements to be made for a privileged legal visit by appointed Defence Counsel. Mr. Al-Senussi has now spent six months in detention in Libya (from September 2012 to date) being questioned about criminal allegations without access to counsel. This in itself makes any claims regarding the fairness of proceedings in Libya untenable.


8. This case has reached a point at which the impasse between Libya and the ICC can only be broken by a referral to the Security Council. If the authority of the Court is to be respected, its orders and requests must be complied with. Further latitude would simply enable Libya to perpetuate its tactics of delay, obfuscation and prevarication and its consistent attempts to mislead the Chamber and the Registry as to its true intentions. Libya’s intentions and actions are very clear.

None of this is remotely surprising, of course. But it puts the lie to Libya’s constant claims in Saif’s case to be cooperating fully with the Court. Libya only cooperates when it gets what it wants.

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