The Hague, October 20, 2011 (FH) - The death of Muammar Gadaffi puts a de facto end to judicial moves against him by the International Criminal Court. ICC judges had issued an arrest warrant against the ousted Libyan leader on June 27 for crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 15, 2011.

1 min 54Approximate reading time

"The Chamber will need to verify that the suspect is indeed dead," ICC spokesperson Fadi El-Abdallah told Hirondelle. "There is no special procedure in this regard but the court will need to be seized of the issue and provided with the necessary elements of proof."

The ICC already had recourse to this procedure in July 2007 when, at the prosecutor's request, the judges withdrew an arrest warrant against Raska Lukwiya, a deceased commander of Ugandan rebel group the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).   

On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) announced to the world that Gaddafi had been killed by forces of the revolution.  Speaking in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, Abdel Hafez Ghoga described it as a "historic moment". He said that Gaddafi had met his destiny and that his death meant "the end of tyranny and dictatorship".

French Defence Minister Gérard Longuet stated that French planes operating as part of the NATO operation in Libya had stopped a column of vehicles fleeing Gaddafi's native Sirte and that the ousted Libyan leader was in that column. According to the minister, it was Libyan fighters who then attacked the convoy and killed Gaddafi. A video showing an injured Gaddafi has been broadcast notably by the Al-Jazeera television network.

The international community has on several occasions urged the Libyan rebels to capture Gaddafi alive, so that he could be brought to trial. Western leaders had also said it should be up to "the Libyan people" to decide whether to send the suspect to the ICC or try him in Libya.

Both the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Amnesty International on Friday called for a full investigation into the way Gaddafi was killed, the BBC reports.

Gaddafi fled after the fall of Tripoli at the end of August. He stated in several TV speeches that he would not leave Libya.

The ICC has also issued arrest warrants against Saïf Al-Islam Gaddafi, one of the dead man's sons, and Abdullah El-Senoussi, who was Gaddafi's head of military intelligence. Late Thursday afternoon, members of the NTC indicated that El-Senoussi had been arrested and that Al-Islam had been identified in a column of vehicles trying to flee Sirte. There are conflicting reports as to his whereabouts.

It was the United Nations Security Council which on February 26 referred crimes committed in Libya to the ICC. Judges of the court issued the three arrest warrants on June 27. The Prosecutor of the ICC will on November 2 present to the UN Security Council in New York his second report on his investigations in Libya.


© Hirondelle News Agency