Press Release: 9 March 2020

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi case: ICC Appeals Chamber confirms case is admissible before the ICC

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, presiding judge on the appeal regarding the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, on 9 March 2020 at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (Netherlands) © ICC-CPI

Today, 9 March 2020, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") unanimously confirmed the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi before the Court and rejected his appeal against the Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision dismissing his challenge to the admissibility of this case.

The Appeals Chamber recalled that the Court is "complementary to national criminal jurisdictions". A case is inadmissible when a person "has already been tried" and no person "who has been tried by another court" for crimes under the ICC jurisdiction shall be tried by the ICC with respect to the same conduct. In reviewing the Pre-Trial Chamber's decision, the Appeals Chamber found no error in it and agreed with its interpretation of the Rome Statute, indicating that the decision issued by a national jurisdiction must be final before a case can be declared inadmissible.

Having considered the submissions of the Defense, the Prosecutor, the victims, Libya's government and others, the Appeals Chamber found that the Pre-Trial Chamber did not err in concluding that the Libyan judgment of 28 July 2015 against Mr Gaddafi was rendered in absentia. This is also supported by the Libyan Government's submissions to the ICC. Thus, under Libyan Law, the Tripoli Court's judgment cannot be considered final. The Appeals Chamber further agreed with Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision that the Libyan Law No. 6 (2015) in respect of amnesty is not applicable to the crimes for which Mr Gaddafi was convicted by the Tripoli Court. Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber rejects Mr Gaddafi's appeal.

The Appeals Chamber is composed of Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Presiding, Howard Morrison, Piotr Hofmański, Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza and Solomy Balungi Bossa. Judge Eboe-Osuji and Judge Bossa jointly append a concurring separate opinion. Judge Ibáñez Carranza will, in due course, file a separate opinion to this judgment, related to the question of amnesties and international law.

Judgment on the appeal of Mr Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I entitled 'Decision on the "Admissibility Challenge by Dr. Saif Al-Islam Gadafi pursuant to Articles 17(1)(c), 19 and 20(3) of the Rome Statute"' of 5 April 2019

Concurring Separate Opinion of Judge Eboe-Osuji and Judge Bossa

Separate and Concurring Opinion of Judge Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza

Background: The situation in Libya was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 1970. On 3 March 2011, the Prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation in the situation in Libya, which was assigned by the Presidency to Pre-Trial Chamber I.

On 27 June 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I issued three warrants of arrest respectively for Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi for crimes against humanity (murder and persecution) allegedly committed across Libya from 15 until at least 28 February 2011, through the State apparatus and Security Forces. On 22 November 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I formally terminated the case against Muammar Gaddafi due to his death. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi are not in the custody of the Court.

On 31 May 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber I rejected Libya's challenge to the admissibility of the case against Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and reminded Libya of its obligation to surrender the suspect to the Court. On 21 May 2014, the Appeals Chamber upheld Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision.

On 11 October 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided that the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi is inadmissible before the ICC as it was currently subject to domestic proceedings conducted by the Libyan competent authorities and that Libya is willing and able genuinely to carry out such investigation. On 24 July 2014, the Appeals Chamber confirmed Pre-Trial Chamber I's decision.

Further information on this case is available here.

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