legal issues surrounding any capture of al-Gadhafi
Libya, Politics, 8/26/2011
Amnesty International yesterday addressed the question of "What should happen to Colonel al-Gadhafi upon his capture?" saying in the report "Colonel al-Gadhafi must be given a fair trial. This is essential so that his victims in Libya can see justice being done. Everyone should be brought to justice, irrespective of their rank."
The report noted that "The UN Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in February. After a preliminary investigation, the ICC Prosecutor concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that al-Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and military intelligence chief Abdallah al-Sanussi have committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court and asked the ICC to issue arrest warrants against them. The three ICC arrest warrants issued on 27 June 2011 should be carried out immediately."
The report said "The ICC warrants cover two crimes against humanity – murder and persecution – committed since 15 February. A wave of killings and enforced disappearances of suspected critics of the government began in February following the start of anti-Gaddafi protests in Benghazi. Libyan officials should also be held accountable for serious human rights violations committed before this year's uprising, some of which sparked the public demonstrations. The charges against Colonel al-Gadhafi do not cover the decades when security forces under his control tortured, killed and made people "disappear" with impunity. For example no official has ever been held to account for the deaths of up to 1,200 people in the infamous Abu Slim prison massacre in 1996."
The report said "The new Libyan leadership should swiftly rebuild its justice system to enable national courts to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law. This should also include crimes committed before 15 February, as well as those allegedly committed by persons who will not face investigation at the ICC."
The report said "Libya's new leadership will need to assess how to reform the judiciary, the police and other key institutions as soon as possible after the fighting has stopped. The following are priorities for urgent reform:
Libya's Criminal Code fails adequately to define crimes under international law, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
Libya's Code of Criminal procedure lacks adequate legal safeguards, particularly in cases that are deemed to be political in nature.
The independence of Libya's judiciary has been undermined by persistent political interference over decades.
Security forces routinely flout the limited safeguards that do exist in Libyan law. A parallel legal system has been set up since 2007 to handle cases 'against the state,' where international standards are not met.
The death penalty is prescribed for a wide range of offenses."
Speculating if Colonel al-Gadhafi should receive the death penalty or be offered safe haven, the report said "Amnesty International categorically opposes the death penalty in all cases, whatever the magnitude of the crime. Capital punishment violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment... International law prohibits granting immunity to anyone suspected of committing the most serious crimes. If al-Gadhafi were to flee Libya, Amnesty International would call for his immediate arrest and transfer to the ICC for investigation."
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