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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The media is full of hypothesis and debate over how the war in Libya might be resolved. The neocons are saying ‘just go in and finish it’ implying that the US should take the lead and simply kill Gaddafi at the first available opportunity, while others argue over whether or not it is the job of the coalition to fight for the revolutionaries by destroying Gaddafi or to ensure that there is no killing of civilians. The pedantics over the wording of UNSC 1973 is at the center of most debate among the coalition partners while, of course, the neocons have no interest in the role of the UN and would much prefer the US to kick Gaddafi’s arse regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. In short, the powers that be have painted themselves into a corner over the issue of resolving the Libya crisis.

Yet buried beneath all the argument there is one relatively simple solution which resolves the problem for everyone.

On 26 February 2011 the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favour of UNSC 1970 to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC). While the ICC under Article 16 of the Rome Statutes (see p.11) that empowers the ICC is unable to commence an investigation or prosecution for a period 12 months after the UNSC referred the matter to the ICC, there must be a way that a person who is known to have committed crimes prosecutable by the ICC yet remains at large and still able to, and, indeed, has threatened to commit further crimes, can be arrested pending investigation and prosecution at the ICC. Article 58, 1.b.iii, (see p.31 of the Rome Statutes linked to above) which says an arrest warrant may be issued: “Where applicable, to prevent the person from continuing with the commission of that crime or a related crime which is within the jurisdiction of the Court and which arises out of the same circumstances,” may, depending on how the Article as a whole is interpreted, provide a legal avenue by which an arrest warrant can be issued by the ICC for the arrest and detention of Gaddafi. There may also be some avenue open under Article 92 (p.50) of the Rome Statutes which relate to provisional arrest. This may be a way out of the war conundrum. Though it does not actually put an end to the war itself, it does specify the endgame; the arrest of Gaddafi. Once arrested, the war will be all but over.

One way of encouraging his arrest, even by his own immediate subordinates, may be to offer a substantial reward to whoever brings Gaddafi to court for prosecution. A reward of, say, $100 million may well be enough to induce those around him to give him up. A $100 million might sound a lot but when one considers that each cruise missile that has been launched against Gaddafi so far costs around half a million each then a hundred million has already been spent. By offering a huge reward in this way far fewer innocent people are likely to get killed and a criminal is brought to proper justice. It will also have the added benefit of causing other dictators to think twice before they set about murdering their on citizens. For many, the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison rather than dying a martyr to their cause and the prospect of not being able to get away with their crimes by fleeing into exile with their ill-gotten gains may also compel them to think twice before committing their crimes.

Gaddafi, for all his wealth and power, is still nothing more than a criminal. He, and anyone else who commits a criminal act, should not be above the law. They must, like everyone else that commits crime, suffer the consequences of their acts.

Just a thought.


traducteur said...

Sorry, Damian, I have never had much use for Col. Gaddafi, but the spectacle of Americans bombing Libyans has put me into his camp at once.

t said...

In that connection, this is well worth reading:

Damian Lataan said...

Trad, while the Americans are clearly out of order bombing civilians, I can never find myself supporting a fascist dictator like Gaddafi as a result of it. I detest fascist dictators and I detest people who bomb civilians.