For Immediate Release: August 24, 2011
Washington, DC – While rebel control of Tripoli is not yet complete, Human Rights First welcomes and echoes the Obama Administration’s calls for the Libyan Transitional National Council to respect the rights of all citizens during the transition after the collapse of the Gadhafi regime. Human Rights First also urges President Obama to make clear that the United States also wishes to see respect for international law.
“Adhering to international standards when holding Gadhafi regime members to account for their alleged abuses will help ensure that Libya starts this next chapter in its national history on the right path,” said Human Rights First’s Julia Fromholz.
While the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Muammar Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and Abdullah al-Senussi in June 2011, the Transitional National Council has indicated that it may prefer to try those regime members in Libya. If the Council seeks to set up trials for those regime members, the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber has the responsibility under Article 17 of the Rome Statute to decide whether Libyan tribunals would meet international standards.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s recent remarks noting that the Transitional National Council must ensure that “international standards of justice” are maintained in the process of holding accountable those with blood on their hands. Human Rights First notes that the first step in ensuring international standards of justice is to ensure that the rules of the International Criminal Court are followed.
“Until the Transitional National Council seeks that decision from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber, and while that decision is being made, any captured indictees must be held in humane conditions,” stated Fromholz. “If the Transitional National Council cannot guarantee their safety and humane treatment, they should be detained in the Hague.”
Fromholz concluded, “No matter where the current ICC indictees are tried, the Transitional National Council will have to ensure fair trials for all those who allegedly committed crimes but have not been indicted. Seeing just and fair trials of regime members from the top down in Libya would help instill broad respect for the rule of law after decades of a dictatorship.”