An article in today’s New York Times suggests that efforts to find an exit for Colonel Gaddafi are “complicated by the likelihood that he would be indicted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988, and atrocities inside Libya.”
This is pretty epically incorrect.
Gaddafi may well face charges at the ICC for his regime’s violent response to the protests that sparked the current civil war, but he will most certainly not be charged for the bombing of Pan Am 103. The ICC has jurisdiction only over events that occurred after the entry into force of the treaty establishing the court (the Rome Statute), which took place on July 1, 2002. The 1988 Lockerbie bombing is decidedly not subject to the court’s jurisdiction.
Any atrocities committed by Gaddafi in Libya between July 1, 2002 and the current crisis are also unlikely to be the subject of an ICC warrant. Libya is not a signatory of the Rome Statute and has therefore not accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory. Consequently, the only way for regime crimes to be tried at the ICC is if the Security Council refers them to the court. Security Council resolution 1970 did just that, but it explicitly limited the scope of the referral to “the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011.”
So, five demerits for you, New York Times.