ICC seeks forensic proof of death before withdrawing Gaddafi death warrant
In practice international criminal court turns focus of attention to other Libyan regime members
guardian.co.uk, Friday 21 October 2011 23.55 BST
The international criminal court has said it would not withdraw its arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi until it has forensic proof that he is dead.
In practice, the ICC and Interpol changed the focus of their attention to the two other regime members facing arrest warrants for crimes against humanity: Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, whose whereabouts were the subject of conflicting reports.
An ICC spokesman, Fadi El-Abdallah, said that some form of DNA evidence taken from Gaddafi’s body would probably be necessary to close the case, and it was up to the new authorities in Tripoli to provide that evidence to the court.
As one possible precedent, he mentioned the case of Raska Lukwiya, a commander of the rebel Lords Resistance Army in Uganda indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005, who was killed in combat in 2007. His identity was confirmed by the help of Dutch forensic scientists.
In the case of Libya, the National Transitional Council had vowed to try Gaddafi and members of his regime inside the country, but there were some reports yesterday that at least one other ICC suspect, Senussi, had fled in Niger. That country’s foreign minister Mohammed Bazoum, has said that his government had been told by unnamed western nations that Senussi had crossed into the sparsely inhabited north of Niger. Other reports said that the intelligence chief, who is also Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, had been captured in Libya.
There were also conflicting accounts over whether Seif al-Islam had been captured, killed or was also trying to leave the country. Interpol appealed for him to turn himself in, and offered to guarantee safe passage to The Hague.
The ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is still investigating claims of atrocities committed in Libya, but officials said it was possible it would look into the circumstances of the deaths of Gaddafi and his Mutassim.