Libya: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome ICC ruling on the Al-Senussi case, which heralds new potential for justice and strengthening human rights protection

Brussels - Rome - New York, 24 July 2014

Today, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that the case against Colonel Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Mr Abdullah Al-Senussi, is inadmissible before the Court, in accordance with the principle of complementarity enshrined in the Rome Statute, founding treaty of the ICC. Today’s decision confirms the 11 October 2013 decision of the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, which ruled that the case against Mr Al-Senussi was inadmissible before the ICC as he was currently subject to domestic proceedings conducted by the competent Libyan authorities and that Libya was willing and able to carry out the investigation and prosecution. On 17 October 2014, the Defence appealed this decision.
Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), welcome the decision by the ICC Appeals Chamber that Mr Al-Senussi’s case is to proceed in Libya. This decision confirms that the local judicial authorities are not only willing but are also able to take up prosecutions of crimes under international law committed on its territory by its citizens. This ruling is a positive answer to Libyans’ aspirations to see the alleged perpetrators of crimes against them face justice where those crimes were committed.
“As one of the alleged masterminds behind the brutal attacks against the civilian population in Libya, it is critical that Mr Al-Senussi be held accountable through an independent and fair judicial process. We urge the Libyan judicial authorities to ensure that the proceedings are conducted with impartiality and strict adherence to all due process rights and fundamental guarantees, according to the highest international standards. It is time now for Libya to give voice to the principles underpinning the revolution by ensuring this trial takes place fairly and expeditiously.
“As we have consistently maintained, the international community should support Libya in its efforts to establish a culture of accountability by enhancing technical assistance to the country’s local authorities and civil society. This includes the Libyan Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for carrying out the trials, and monitoring mechanisms such as the Libyan Trial Monitoring Network, established in August 2013 with the support of NPWJ, which is monitoring very closely Mr Al-Senussi’s trial in Tripoli. This kind of support could play a unique and significant role in supporting judicial reforms and enhancing the fairness, effectiveness and transparency of the Libyan judiciary. There is still also a need for the ICC to carry out a serious and well developed outreach campaign in Libya to help promote understanding of this decision and of its role more generally, particularly given the results of the Saif al-Islam Gadafi admissibility challenge.
“For Libya to achieve successfully its transition to a democratic state governed by the rule of law, the Libyan Government has to take further legislative measures to address the severe challenges to the judicial system, both past and current, and enact critical reforms to ensure a fully functional judicial system based on international standards and principles. The Government should work towards ending mass arbitrary detentions, enact legislative and legal measures to ensure that detainees are charged with a crime or released, provide any detainee with fundamental rights, including the right to be represented by a lawyer, reform its judicial and legal frameworks to entrench due process rights and urgently build a strong and accountable Judicial Police. Much attention has been placed on Mr Al-Senussi’s case, but we must never forget that there are thousands of others still in detention and still awaiting trial; let this case be a catalyst for support to the judicial system as a whole.
“After decades of dictatorship and illegality, we look forward to Libya demonstrating its ability to break with the legacy of impunity and abuses that typified Muammar Gaddafi’s rule with a new respect for the Rule of Law and to meet the promise of justice and redress for the victims and their families. This would be an important signal that Libya is committed to turning a new page and moving to a future based on full respect for the human rights of all”.

NPWJ in Libya
NPWJ in Libya NPWJ has been working on the Libyan transition since early 2011 and has been on-the-ground since early October 2011. It has had a permanent presence in Tripoli since March 2012 and has been working to create a network of Libyan actors to engage different sectors of Libyan society on transitional justice. Its work in Libya combines the provision of transitional justice information (both in cooperation with the institutions and in partnerships with civil society), including on outreach and documentation, with research and analysis of public expectations and perceptions. NPWJ is partnering with a wide range of civil society organisations from across the country, including both more established and emerging ones. It aims to help build and reinforce the capacity of Libyan actors, including NGOs, academics, lawyers and media, public authorities and opinion-leaders, to play their role in incorporating accountability, human rights and the rule of law in the democracy transition and post-conflict reconstruction of their country. On the institutional side, NPWJ is working with the Ministry of Justice, and its Higher Judicial Training Institute, in providing training and expertise to the judges and prosecutors who have been charged with the enormous task of dealing with those suspected to have committed or directed atrocities during the conflict, and during the previous regime. NPWJ has also established a trial monitoring program, which is being run in collaboration with the Tripoli Bar Association and aims to promote transparency and accountability within the Libyan judiciary.

- For further information, please contact Alison Smith on or +32 (0)2 548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 (0)2 548 39 15.
- For further information on the activities of NPWJ in Libya please contact Giulia Cappellazzi, at  or +218 91 1476934 or Gianluca Eramo, at or +32 (0)2 548 39 25