Capture of Abdullah Senussi heralds new potential for justice

21 Nov, 2011 | Press Releases

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“On what has turned out to be a good weekend for the victims of the brutal attacks in Libya, Colonel Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, has also been captured.  Together with his co-accused, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, it is critical that Mr Senussi be held to account in a fair trial that respects and upholds international standards.

“No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, welcome the capture of Abdullah Senussi and remind those holding him of the need to ensure he is treated humanely and properly, in accordance with international standards, as they have stated they will.

“We take this opportunity to recall the wishes of the victims, and of the people of Libya, that both Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Mr Senussi be tried in Libya, to face justice in the same place in which they allegedly waged their brutal attacks. According to the principle of complementarity, the ICC has jurisdiction only if the Libyan authorities are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute the crimes of which Mr Senussi has been accused. They are certainly willing; if they are unable for whatever reason, we expect Mr Senussi to be transferred to The Hague to face trial before the ICC. We welcome the expressed intention of the Libyan authorities to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in respect of both Mr Senussi’s and Saif al-Islam’s cases and welcome the news that the ICC Office of the Prosecutor is on its way to Tripoli to discuss these issues.

“In any event, we call on the international community to support Libya to fulfil its obligations either to investigate or prosecute or to transfer the two suspects to face trial before the ICC. We urge the ICC to be ready to try Saif al-Islam and Mr Senussi themselves, by ensuring it is ready to establish a field presence and begin outreach to victims and the affected communities immediately.  We further urge the ICC and its States Parties to hold the trials of these two accused persons in Libya and to work with the Libyan authorities to ensure conditions will allow that to happen.

“Today is a critical day for the victims in Libya; it is just the beginning of their long journey to obtain justice and redress. We must support them and support Libya in their efforts to secure justice, the rule of law, democracy and prosperity.”

For further information, please contact Alison Smith, phone +32 2 548 39 12, email or Nicola Giovannini, phone +32-2-548-3915, email