12th ASP to the ICC: NPWJ convened a side event on “Complementarity in Libya”

The Hague, 26 November 2013

On the occasion of the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, No Peace Without Justice held a side event on “Complementarity in Libya”, co-hosted by the Delegation of Italy, on Tuesday 26 November 2013 at the World Forum Convention Centre.
Complementarity is the fundamental principle underpinning the ICC, allowing the Court to exercise its jurisdiction only when a State is unable or unwilling to do so. There are currently two different ICC cases in which admissibility is a central feature, in the two cases in the Libya situation: one on Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and one on Abdullah al-Senussi. Regarding Mr Gaddafi, the admissibility challenge was rejected and so, unless the ICC decides otherwise on appeal, he is currently going to face trial in The Hague. Regarding Mr al-Senussi, the admissibility challenge was approved and so, unless the ICC decides otherwise on appeal, he is going to face trial in Libya. The country has a heritage of impunity, but it is working to transition toward a new jurisdiction, which is putting an end to impunity for crimes against humanity.
The event discussed the opportunities and challenges for complementarity in Libya, including the potential for the case of Mr al-Senussi to foster efforts to conduct effective reform of the judiciary in the country while recognising the concerns relating to fair trial rights. It also explored what “inability” means and focused on the role of the international community in assisting Libya to become able to investigate and prosecute crimes under international law. The event also highlighted the importance of outreach and communication to promote understanding of the ICC mandate and procedures, which is essential to engage victims and the people of Libya and contributes to an environment conducive to cooperation with the Court.

The panel, which was chaired by Wafa B.H. Omar, Director of International Programs at Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center in Tunis, included among the speakers Fathi Salem Abouzakhar (Libya), Libyan Centre for Strategy & Future Studies, Marieke Wierda, University of Leiden, on leave from being TJ Adviser at the UN Support Mission in Libya, Rhiannon Smith, Libya Program Officer for NPWJ in Tripoli and Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General of NPWJ. Participants included representatives of States, civil society and the International Criminal Court.

NPWJ and the ICC
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) is an international non-profit advocacy organisation working for the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, accountability and justice, born of a campaign of the Transnational Radical Party. NPWJ has unique field experience in wide-scale documentation of violations of international humanitarian law, conflict mapping and analysis, and in implementing outreach programs on international criminal justice that engage communities in conflict and post-conflict and in complex political environments. NPWJ, which is also a member of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and which has been one of the organisations at the forefront of promoting the establishment and entry into force of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) and continues to work for its universal ratification, has participated in every session of the ASP since its first session in 2002, the year the ICC was established.
For more information, contact Gianluca Eramo on geramo@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3913 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.