International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Questions of complementarity in Libya

Issues surrounding where the son of Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, is to be tried are still unsettled.  In an effort to look into the case the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, flew to Tripoli this week.  There are concerns about Libya’s ability and willingness to hold fair trials for Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and other suspected war criminals in Libya.  In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV Moreno-Ocampo said that the Libyan government has to makes its case to the ICC that they can conduct fair trials for all of their detainees.  The idea of complementarity is central to the ICC, as one of its primary functions is to build the capacity of national courts  to hold trials for those accused of committing mass atrocities.  However, concerns about Libya’s current ability and willingness to hold fair trials have yet to be dealt with.  Libyan officials however are adamant about trying Seif al-Islam Gadhafi in Libya, according to one official “The Justice Ministry is working to establish a strong judicial system across Libya…capable of providing fair trials”.  Luis Moreno-Ocampo isn’t quite convinced on the matter yet though, “We want to know how Libya will deal with war crimes, and how they are investigating the crimes.”

Complementarity is a vitally important aspect of the ICC, but so to is the fact that legitimate trials be held.  What factors do you think should be taken into consideration when deciding if a national judicial system like the one in Libya is competent and capable of holding trials for war criminals?

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