The day after : prosecuting international crimes committed in Libya
Host item entries:
The Italian yearbook of international law, Vol. 21, 2011, p. 85-109
In 2011, Libya was a theatre of atrocious crimes. Ensuring that those involved do not go unpunished is now a major challenge fo the new Libyan Government and the international community. The first part of this article surveys the crimes against humanity and war crimes that were reportedly committed by both the Gaddafi forces and the insurgents. It also considers the NATO air strikes which resulted in civilian casualties or damage to civilian objets and might amount to war crimes. The second part of the article discusses the available mechanisms for prosecuting the aforementioned crimes. Firstly, the Security Council rreferral of the Libyan situation to the International Criminal Court and its limitations are examined, and subsequent developments are explored, including the warrants against Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif Al-Islam and Al-Senussi, their capture and Libya's admissibility challenge of 1 May 2012. Secondly, the article considers the prospects for national proceedings against the alleged criminals. The author argues that proceedings before Libyan courts are the only practically available option to ensure the punishment of the bulk of perpetrators. She also emphasises the importance of investigations and prosecutions being given equal weighting, whether they are of Gaddafi loyalists or revolutionaries.