EGYPT: Legal expert says Kadafi arrest warrant ‘of great importance’ and, if issued, enforceable in Africa


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After the International Criminal Court prosecutor on Monday requested arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, his son Seif Islam Kadafi and his military intelligence chief, accusing them of crimes against humanity, Babylon & Beyond spoke with Nasser Amin, an Egyptian lawyer and member of the International Criminal Court, coordinator for the Arab Coalition for the International Criminal Court and a member of the National Council for Human Rights.

Timeline: Rebellion in Libya


Q: How important is the decision to issue an arrest warrant for Kadafi and his sons?

A: This decision is of a great importance. Now Kadafi and his sons will be put on a watch list for arrivals in over 110 countries all over the world (countries that have signed the Rome Statute).

I believe that this can be the beginning of the end for Kadafi and his regime. Now he will have to either flee to another country and face being captured at an airport or stay in Libya and wait for his destiny at the hands of rebels.

Q: What is your opinion regarding a Kadafi spokesman’s claims that if the ICC issues the arrest warrants, they will not be enforced in Africa?

A: Those comments are not true because the prosecutor at the ICC is entitled to implement the decision and capture Kadafi through all the necessary means. Those means include full cooperation with countries that are members of the ICC accord and their intelligence. We are talking about 110 across the world here, in addition to other countries which did not sign the accord but cooperate with ICC to bring those charged with war crimes and other crimes to justice. Q: What is the track record of African leaders with the ICC?

A: We have eight African countries that are members of the ICC, and Kadafi can’t enter any of those countries. Additionally, I don’t believe that any of the other African countries would subject itself to international political embarrassment and put its reputation on the line to provide a haven for Kadafi, especially now after he lost his legitimacy as Libya’s leader as well as his financial and political powers that he enjoyed over many African leaders.

Q: How is an arrest warrant issued against a political leader for war or genocide crimes?

A: The first step is that the ICC prosecutor submits all his proofs to a preliminary panel and requests an arrest warrant. The panel investigates all the proof and documents before issuing the warrant.

Q: Once the ICC issues a warrant, say, in Kadafi’s case, how is it enforced?

A: After issuing the warrant, the ICC sends a formal request to capture Kadafi to the Libyan government recognized by the United Nations. In this case, it will be Kadafi’s government, which of course will turn down the request. Then a request will be sent to member countries to list Kadafi on their airport lists. The next step is that the ICC prosecutor starts enlisting member countries and non-members willing to use their intelligence services to capture Kadafi. The final and most important step in case none of the rest works will be resorting to the United Nations Security Council, which can impose sanctions on a given country to force it to hand over Kadafi.


-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Upper photo: Libyan leader Moamar Kadafi gestures to supporters in Tripoli on April 10. Credit: Pier Paolo Cito / Associated Press

Lower photo: Nasser Amin, Egyptian lawyer and member of the International Criminal Court. Credit: Nasser Amin