International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

The Other Qaddafi, Niger, and the ICC


According to a recent article from the Libya Herald, a few days ago President Mahamadou Issofou of Niger offered up Saadi Qaddafi to the ICC, should it seek to arrest and prosecute him. Qaddafi is Muammar Qaddafi’s son, and in November 2011 he sought and received asylum in Niger. While the court has not issued a warrant for Qaddafi’s arrest, when Bensouda briefed the UNSC on the situation in Libya, she did mention the possibility of a second case in relation to Libya. In addition to investigating rebel crimes, which was the most seized upon implication of her announcement, she is also, however, looking into “allegations against other members of the Gaddafi government for crimes committed during the events of 2011” (From her report, 11.07.12).

While there is debate over whether Qaddafi’s actions during his father’s regime and during the revolution constitute the most serious crimes which the ICC is mandated to try, I find it interesting that Niger is making this offer unprompted to the ICC. Issofou announced that “On the extradition of Saadi Qaddafi… this will be done in accordance with international laws and the rule of law, and we are ready to comply with these laws…If asked by the International Criminal Court to deliver Qaddaf’s son, we are ready to place him at its disposal.” The Nigerien president also described the relationship between Libya and Niger as “excellent,” even though Libya has repeated sought to have Qaddafi extradited from Niger, which declined for “humanitarian considerations” – presumably the treatment that Qaddafi would face if returned to Libya.

Is this then an example of the kind of international standards that the ICC seeks to promote in action? What are we to make of Issofou’s unprompted offer to transfer Qaddafi into ICC custody? Should such enthusiasm lead us to suspect political maneuvering, or should we see it as a beacon of hope for the normalization of international justice?


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