Gaddafi and the International Criminal Court

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The Libyan Leader, Muammar Gaddafi was charged by the International Criminal Court on 27th June 2011, “for crimes against humanity (murder and persecution) allegedly committed across Libya from February 15, 2011 until at least February 28, 2011 through the state apparatus and security forces”. This matter was referred in February 2011 at the United Nations Security Councils 6,491st meeting.


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Arrests warrants were also issued against Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

The ICC Lybia page details the accused as:

  • Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi (Muammar Gaddafi) Commander of the Armed Forces and Libyan Head of State
  • Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi Libyan Prime Minister
  • Colonel Abdullah Al-Senussi Head of Military Intelligence

There are reasonable grounds to believe that, under article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, Muammar Gaddafi and Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi are criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators and Abdullah Al-Senussi is criminally responsible as indirect perpetrator, for two counts of crimes against humanity:

Murder, within the meaning of article 7(1)(a) of the Statute; and
Persecution, within the meaning of article 7(1)(h) of the Statute.

The ICC has indicted 26 individuals from 7 countries since its inception in June 2002, and of these 26 cases, 3 have been finalised; 2 by the death of the accused and one by acquittal.  17 of these individuals have had arrest warrants issued, and 5 are now in custody.  Crimes from another 132 countries have been reported to the ICC, of which 2 have been concluded and another 8 are “ongoing”.


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Professor Steven Freeland, a Sydney international law expert has stared that the death of Muammar Gaddafi has been a lost opportunity for justice. Others say that justice has now been served, with the apparent execution of Muammar Gaddafi by one of the Libyan fighters who captured him.

Sanad al-Sadek al-Ureibi, a Lybian freedom fighter from Benghazi has claimed that he shot Gaddafi twice, once in the head, after fighters from Misrati wanted to take Gaddafi back to their city, and not allow Ureibi to take him back to Benghazi.

One thing is for sure; Gaddafi is now unable to use any legal methods to escape any punishment.

My two main memories of his regime are:

  • 1984: The shooting of the British Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London. www
  • 1988: The bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270- people including 11 from the town itself. www

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