ICC to review Libya's Gadhafi investigation

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2011 1:26 PM
ICC to review Libya's Gadhafi investigation

International Criminal Court prosecutors said Tuesday they will review efforts by Libya's new rulers to investigate the death of the country's longtime dictator, Moammar Gadhafi.

Prosecutors said in a letter to the lawyer of one of the late dictator's daughters that they will give details of the review to the United Nations Security Council in a report next May. In the same report, prosecutors will outline their "strategy with regards to future investigations" of alleged war crimes in Libya.

Attorney Nick Kaufman wrote to prosecutors earlier this month seeking details of any ICC investigation into the October slayings of Gadhafi and one of his sons, Muatassim, after they were captured by rebels.

Under the ICC's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, prosecutors are obliged to investigate all sides of conflicts. However, the statute also makes clear that the ICC is a court of last resort, which can be called into action when national governments cannot or will not launch investigations into atrocities.

In their letter to Kaufman, prosecutors say that due to the primacy of national courts their future strategy in Libya, "will depend on the activities of the Libyan national authorities and whether they are genuinely carrying out such investigations."

Kaufman said Aisha Gadhafi welcomed the letter and said she believes any ICC investigation should also cover possible crimes committed by NATO as the alliance launched air strikes intended to protect civilians during the rebels' battle to topple Gadhafi as well as allegations of atrocities carried out by forces loyal to the new Libyan government.

But Kaufman said Aisha Gadhafi also had questions over "to what extent an objective and effective investigation which meets international standards" could happen if ICC prosecutors delay their involvement in the case until after they report to the Security Council in May.

"We believe the exigencies of a professional investigation require immediate involvement of the OTP," Kaufman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Prosecutors indicted Gadhafi along with his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and the regime's intelligence chief earlier this year.

The case against Gadhafi was dropped after his death and the new Libyan government says it wants to put Seif on trial rather than turn him over to the court in The Hague.