IL Newswire

ICC Calls for Immediate Arrest of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in 2011, after his arrest warrant was filed.  Ammar El-Darwish/Reuters

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in 2011, after his arrest warrant was filed.  Ammar El-Darwish/Reuters

On 14 June, the International Criminal Court (ICC) called for the arrest of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on charges of crimes against humanity of murder and persecution. Gaddafi, son of notorious Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has been detained since he allegedly committed these crimes during the 2011 uprising that pushed his father out of power in 2011. Last week, however, the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalion militia freed Gaddafi under the pretense of an "amnesty law," a move that has been condemned by the UN-backed government in Libya and by the international community in general. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda declared that Libya is obligated to turn Gaddafi over regardless of any supposed amnesty law.

Beyond Gaddafi's past crimes, experts worry that his release will renew political strife in Libya. According to field research done by the BBC, Libyan citizens that had fought for the 2011 revolution may see Gaddafi's freedom as a betrayal of their own, and they may see fit to renew protests. However, others have said that Libya's chaotic turn since Muammar Gaddafi's relinquishing of power may be stabilized with the younger Gaddafi's return. In fact, Gaddafi's lawyer implied that Gaddafi could have a pivotal role in national reconciliation efforts, but it is unknown whether he plans to do so, or whether such efforts would be balanced for both sides to the conflict. Some have questioned why Gaddafi's release was even publicly discussed, as his whereabouts are currently unknown, as well as his intentions.

Although it remains unclear how Gaddafi's return will affect political tensions in Libya, the ICC's warrant for his arrest still stands and remains resolute. Additionally, if Gaddafi does indeed plan to re-enter Libyan politics, he has many other political powers to contend with in the country, leaving him at a relative disadvantage.