The last remnants of the Gaddafi regime are on the run - possibly seeking refuge in the relative safety of a detention centre in The Hague. Is that why the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is packing for Libya?
By Richard Walker, The Hague
Ocampo will not be travelling to Libya as a bounty hunter. The two ICC indictees, Saif al-Islam and Abdullah al-Senussi are, according to Ocampo today, holding “informal conversations” and are “exploring the possibility to appear before the court”.
A Libyan diplomatic source told RNW that an ICC mission is planning to travel to Libya to conduct its investigation and research activities from there.
The sources deny that the mission has any relation to reports that Saif al-Islam is intending to surrender to the ICC, emphasising that the delegation does not intend to travel immediately.
The ICC has issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, who are reported to have fled to a neighbouring country, most probably Niger.
Banned on the run
How close the two men are to being brought to The Hague is becoming more unclear by the day.
Ocampo’s Office said in a statement today it is “galvanising efforts to implement the arrest warrants ... we have learnt through informal channels that there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Saif to an African country not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor is also exploring the possibility to intercept any plane within the airspace of a state party in order to make an arrest.”
Libya Signing up
The headlines will focus on the ICC's efforts to secure the arrest and transfer of the two men. But Ocampo has other pressing motivations.
His term in office ends next June and he is keen to present a positive image of collaboration between countries and the Office of the Prosecutor. Libya is not a signatory to the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute. But new Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi recently told RNW it would soon sign up.
By doing so Tripoli obliges itself to implement the Rome Statute into its domestic law. That is a difficult and complicated task, even for a developed nation like Italy, which faced major bureaucratic obstacles in complying. For the new fledgling Libyan state the challenge will be gargantuan.
Ocampo will advise on the setting up of a competent new Libyan justice system, and how it should proceed in prosecuting all those involved in Libya’s 2011 violence – possibly even those responsible for the public lynching of Colonel Gaddafi himself.