International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

International conflict over the trial of Abdullah al-Senussi

How the ICC Could Still Get Senussi to the Hague (Mark Kersten)

In this post, Mark Kersten writes about how Libya, France, and the ICC each want the trial of Abdullah al-Senussi (a top official in Gaddafi’s regime) to take place in their jurisdiction. The political struggle between the multiple agents talked about in Kersten’s post brings to mind several articles that we read, which discussed how tribunals are about not just retribution, but memory, acknowledgment of the truth, self-empowerment, and the aspiration towards “justice.” All of the above comprise enough motivation for Libya, France, and the ICC to spend an exorbitant amount of resources trying to get legal control of Senussi, making Senussi a very valuable person in a way. I think the political and ethical tension here reflects perfectly how the politics of international justice transcends simple formal punishment to be also about: 1) who has more of a right to charge Senussi 2) the mutual and strong desire of Libya, France, and the ICC to fix the historical record via legal interrogation (to claim power over the knowledge that only Senussi possesses) 3) the way this strife manifests in strained state interactions and 4) the fact that Senussi, despite the high probability that he will ultimately get either a death or life-in-prison sentence regardless of where he is tried, is at the moment a very valuable item socially, economically, and politically.

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One response to “International conflict over the trial of Abdullah al-Senussi

  1. Alana Tiemessen October 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Good analysis about the significance of this contestation over who tries Senussi (and Ghaddafi). One could also argue that transitional states, like Libya and others, want to quickly re-establish the rule of law and putting war criminals on trial is one way to do so. But the accused and ICC have legitimate concerns about the possibility of a fair trial. This sort of battle is new to the ICC as in most other cases states have willingness turned over cases.

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