Perspectives on Africa’s Response to the ICC’s Arrest Warrants in the Libya Situation

"On 27 June 2011, the three judges of the International Criminal Court’s Pre-trial Chamber I issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and Abdullah al-Senussi for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since mid-February this year. The decision is a significant but not unexpected development in a process begun by the United Nations Security Council when it passed Resolution 1970, which, among other things, referred the situation in Libya to the ICC for investigation and possible prosecution. The current motivator is African leaders’ unease with the NATO led military operation in Libya authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, along with concerns that the Gaddafi warrant will undermine the AU’s efforts to negotiate a political settlement. The implications of these positions for international justice and the ICC are important and need to be approached by considering several questions: How did the Libyan situation come before the ICC? On what basis did the ICC judges issue the arrest warrants? To what extent are peace prospects now under threat? What are the prospects for Africa-ICC relations?"