03 March, 2011

The International Criminal Court and Libya

On Thursday 3 March 2011 announced the opening of an investigation in Libya. 

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) provides jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court over the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011. As per the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor shall proceed with an investigation unless there is no reasonable basis to believe that crimes falling under the ICC jurisdiction have been committed.

Following a preliminary examination of available information, the Prosecutor reached the conclusion that an investigation is warranted. 

The Office of the Prosecutor is liaising with the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, as well as States. Additionally, the Prosecutor will also request information from other sources including from Interpol who will provide assistance. The Prosecutor will act independently and impartially. 

The next step is for the Prosecutor to present his case to ICC judges who will then decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants based on the evidence.

The EJIL website carries two interesting items:   "Has the U.K. de-recognised Colonel Gadhafi as Head of State of Libya" and "The difference between rhetoric and reality: Why an illegitimate regime may still be a government in the eyes of international law."  The question of the recognition of States has to be distinguished from recognition of governments.  This matter is considered by Stefan Talmon here.  See details of Professor Talmon here - University of Oxford.

Addendum - 18th March:  On 26th February 2011 the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1970 (2011) addressing recent events in Africa.  On 17th March, the Security Council - by a vote of 10 to 0 (with 5 abstentions)  - passed Resolution 1973 (2011).  See U.N. News and also resolution 1973 may be read at The Guardian 18th March.

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