The Gaddafi Warrant

And… I’m back! Married, honeymooned, de-jet-lagged, etc. And just in time, because Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant today for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. It was accompanied by warrants for Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and brother-in-law, Abdullah al-Senussi. All three are charged with crimes against humanity for the murder and persecution of Libyan nationals between February 15th and 28th, 2011.

The issuance of these warrants reflects the judges’ belief that there are reasonable grounds for concluding that (1) violations rising to the level of crimes against humanity occurred during the crackdown against Libyan civilians, and (2) the three men are criminally responsible for these violations.

A couple of interesting things here:

First, Gaddafi’s responsibility is alleged on the grounds that he has “absolute control over the Libyan State apparatus” and Sennusi’s based on his status as the head of Military Intelligence. Gaddafi’s son, however, is not a member of the Libyan government. The judges note that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, “although not having an official position, is Muammar Gaddafi’s unspoken successor and the most influential person within his inner circle.” They therefore conclude that he “exercised control over crucial parts of the State apparatus, including finances and logistics and had the powers of a de facto Prime Minister.” This makes good sense, given what we know of Saif’s role in the crackdown. But if the case ever goes to trial, we should expect an exciting battle over the facts necessary to establish his de facto control.

Second, no mention is made in these warrants of the alleged Viagra-fueled mass rapes raised by Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo last month. The absence of charges in the warrants doesn’t mean mass rape didn’t occur. It may, as the Prosecutor indicated, simply mean that further investigation is needed. However, according to the Christian Science Monitor, Amnesty International researchers attempting to find support for this claim “have found no evidence to back it whatsoever.” Pfizer must be so relieved…

Kate Cronin-Furman

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