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Al-Senussi Case to Stay in Libya

Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has decided the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi, former Libyan Intelligence Chief is not admissible.   The decision, issued in October, was a response to the challenge to admissibility made by Libya. The case began when the U.N. Security Council referred the case to the ICC in 2011.  Ultimately Col. Muammar Qadafi, his son, Saif Al-Islam Qadafi and Al-Senussi.

Col. Qadafi was killed in the end of uprising in Libya, and Saif Al-Islam Qadafi and Al-Senussi are in the custody of Libya, which has refused to surrender them to The Hague.  In a 152 page opinion, the court evaluated the Libyan case against Al-Senussi, the procedural safeguards and process available to Al-Senussi in Libya and whether or not Libya is unable or unwilling to handle the case.  Ultimately the court determined:

[T[he Chamber concludes that the same case against
Mr Al-Senussi that is before the Court is currently subject to domestic
proceedings being conducted by the competent authorities of Libya - which
has jurisdiction over the case - and that Libya is not unwilling or unable
genuinely to carry out its proceedings in relation to the case against
Mr Al-Senussi. The case against Mr Al-Senussi is therefore inadmissible before
the Court pursuant to article 17(1)(a) of the Statute.

The representatives of Al-Senussi at the ICC have appealed the determination arguing the case should be heard by the ICC.  The court has not ruled on Libya’s request to also dismiss the case against Saif Al-Islam Qadafi.

ICC Announces Third Arrest Warrant from Ivory Coast

Flag of Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday the existence of an arrest warrant for Charles Ble Goude, a former top aide to former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo. Ble Goude’s warrant had been under seal since 2011.   Ivory Coast is not formally a state party to the ICC, but accepted the court’s jurisdiction in 2011 and asked the ICC to probe the post-election violence.

Gbagbo was the first former head of state to appear and face charges at the ICC.  The pre-trial chamber found insufficient evidence at the confirmation of charges hearing, that determination is being appealed by the Office of the Prosecutor.

Former first lady Simone Gbagbo has also been accused of crimes against humanity, and is in custody in Ivory Coast, which recently declined to send her to The Hague to face charges at the ICC.

Ble Goude fled Ivory Coast after the election defeat, was arrested in Ghana and returned to Ivory Coast in January. The Gbagbos and Ble Goude are accused of Crimes Against Humanity in the post election violence in Ivory Coast.

On 23 November 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber III issued a warrant of arrest for Laurent Gbagbo (“Mr Gbagbo”), having found reasonable grounds to believe that he was criminally responsible as an “indirect co-perpetrator” pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Statute for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution, committed in Côte d’Ivoire during the period between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.  P.2 Decision to Adjourn.  Footnotes omitted. 

Bashir Passes on Visit to United Nations

Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir

Omar Al-Bashir

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir this week cancelled his trip to New York for the opening session of the United Nations. Bashir was the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC issued a warrant for Bashir for  war crimes and crimes against humanity in March 2009. The appeals chamber found the pre-trial chamber’s interpretation of the grounds to issue a warrant too narrow and order the chamber to re-consider it’s decision on genocide.  In addition to being the first sitting head of state to be indicted at the ICC, Bashir is the first person to have been charged with genocide at the ICC. There are two warrants for Bashir to appear at the ICC.

Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and Deputy President of Kenya, William Ruto were charged by the ICC prior to their election to the presidency and deputy presidency.  Bashir is charged for his conduct in office, Kenyatta and Ruto are alleged to have committed crimes against humanity prior to their election.  The charges against Bashir arise from the situation in Darfur.

Kenyatta and Ruto have appeared at the ICC.  Ruto’s trial began this month, Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to begin later this year. Kenyatta took the unusual step of testifying in his own defense at the confirmation of charges hearing. Bashir has not appeared to face the charges, nor have other members of his government who have been indicted. Major NGOs have often put pressure on other nations to arrest Bashir and send him to the ICC, he has cancelled some trips apparently because of the threat of arrrest.

Ivory Coast Refuses to Send Former First Lady to ICC

The government of the Ivory Coast has denied the request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to surrender its former first lady, Simone Gbabgbo usembassy 2006 cropSimone Gbagbo to the ICC.  A warrant was issued for Simone Gbagbo last year, her husband, former President, Laurent Gbagbo was indicted and surrendered to the ICC following post-election violence.

Ivory Coast had not ratified the treaty when Laurent Gbagbo was in power, but acceded to the court in 2003, reconfirmed ICC authority in 2010, sought the investigation.

Some have portrayed this as a reaction to growing complaints that the ICC has targeted only African cases, but it may be more a reaction to the serious doubts judges have about the case against Laurent Gbagbo.  The pre-trial chamber declined to confirm the charges and instead asked the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to submit further evidence to support the claims.  OTP declined and instead appealed the decision.

Laurent Gbagbo also argued that his case was not admissible and belonged in Ivory Coast.   The pre-trial chamber based its ruling on the OTP’s presentation primarily of “anonymous hearsay evidence” and found that the evidence presented to date had not established Laurent Gbagbo’s role as an “indirect co-perpetrator” of Crimes Against Humanity, including “murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution.”

The case against Simone Gbagbo relies on similar evidence and though she is charged separately, she faces similar, possibly the same allegations.  A warrant of arrest has been issued, but not an indictment, so it is not clear if the accusations are identical or not.

Libya has also refused to turn the two indictees under its control to The Hague.