International Criminal Court investigation in Libya

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Situation in Libya
The seal of the International Criminal Court
The seal of the International Criminal Court
File no.01/11
Referred byUN Security Council
Date referred26 February 2011
Date opened3 March 2011 (2011-03-03)
Incident(s)First Libyan Civil War
Second Libyan Civil War
CrimesCrimes against humanity:
· Murder
· Imprisonment
· Torture
· Persecution
· Inhumane acts
War crimes:
· Murder
· Torture
· Cruel Treatment
· Outrage upon dignity
Status of suspects
Muammar GaddafiDeceased
Saif al-Islam GaddafiFugitive
Abdullah SenussiCharges dismissed
Tohami KhaledDeceased
Mahmoud al-WerfalliDeceased

The International Criminal Court investigation in Libya or the Situation in Libya is an investigation started in March 2011 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes and crimes against humanity claimed to have occurred in Libya since 15 February 2011.[1] The initial context of the investigation was the 2011 Libyan Civil War and the time frame of the investigation continued to include the 2019 Western Libya offensive.[2]


The ICC investigation in Libya was initiated by the February 2011 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970[1] in the context of the 2011 Libyan Civil War. The pre-trial chamber judges are Péter Kovács (presiding), Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and Reine Alapini-Gansou.[1]

First Libyan Civil War[edit]

Investigations started during the First Libyan Civil War, in 2011, led to several arrest warrants.[3]

Arrest warrants[edit]

On 27 June 2011, the ICC issued warrants of arrest for the Libyan head of state, Muammar Gaddafi, for his second son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and for Abdullah Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence chief and brother-in-law, married to Muammar Gaddafi's sister-in-law, for murders and persecution of unarmed civilians as crimes against humanity under Articles 7(1)(a) and 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute. The case against Muammar Gaddafi was closed by the ICC shortly after his death.[3]

As of 9 May 2018, the ICC had outstanding warrants for the arrest of Tohami Khaled, former head of the Internal Security Agency of Libya during the final years of the Muammar Gaddafi government; and of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, both of whom were believed by the ICC to remain at large.[4] Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had been captured in Zintan in 2014 and rumoured to have been released in June 2018.[5]

The ICC claims against Abdullah Senussi were concluded in July 2014 on the grounds that his case was being tried in Libyan courts[3] and as of 9 May 2018, continued to monitor the progress of the Libyan legal proceedings against him.[4]

Second Libyan Civil War[edit]

Investigations by the ICC continued during the Second Libyan Civil War, which started in 2014.[4]

In April 2019, during the 2019 Western Libya offensive, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated that both those directly committing war crimes in Libya during the conflict and their commanders would be liable to prosecution by the ICC, including anyone "ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court".[6] Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) stated on 17 April that the GNA would provide documentation to the ICC regarding the 16 April Grad shelling of residential areas[7] that killed at least seven people and wounded 17,[8] for which he attributed responsibility to Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA).[9] On 2 May, a spokesperson for the GNA, Muhanad Younis, stated that administrative responsibility had been allocated for documenting war crimes during the Western Libya offensive and providing the documentation to the ICC.[10]

Arrest warrants[edit]

As of 6 April 2019, the ICC had two outstanding warrants for the arrest of LNA commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli, for involvement in seven alleged executions in and near Benghazi of 33 people during June 2016 to July 2017[11] and for allegedly executing ten people "in front of a cheering crowd" in Benghazi between 23 and 25 January 2018.[4] As of November 2017, the LNA had claimed that al-Werfalli had been arrested and was being investigated by military authorities, while the ICC believed that he was not under arrest and was commanding the al-Saiqa brigade of the LNA.[4] In February 2018, information about al-Werfalli's arrest status was unclear, and an Interpol red notice for his arrest was issued.[4] On 15 June 2022, the ICC dropped its case against al-Werfalli, more than a year after he was killed in Benghazi.[12]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Situations under investigation". International Criminal Court. 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  2. ^ Assad, Abdulkader (2019-04-12). "Germany urges Haftar to stop Tripoli attack, ICC vows to prosecute war criminals". Libya Observer. Archived from the original on 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  3. ^ a b c "Eighth report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011)" (PDF). International Criminal Court. 2014-11-11. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-04-13. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  4. ^ a b c d e f The Office of the Prosecutor (2018-05-09). "Fifteenth report of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations Security Council pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011)" (PDF). International Criminal Court. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-04-14. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  5. ^ Xypolia, Ilia (2018-07-02). "News of Saif al-Islam's release: regional politics fuels rumour mill in Libya". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  6. ^ Bensouda, Fatou (16 April 2019). "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in relation to the escalation of violence in and around Tripoli, Libya". International Criminal Court. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Late night shelling in Tripoli as Europe, Gulf divided over..." Reuters. 16 April 2019. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  8. ^ Laessing, Ulf; Elumami, Ahmed (17 April 2019). "Shells kill seven in Tripoli neighborhood as Haftar's two-week siege rages". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Al-Sarraj vows to urge for Haftar's indictment at ICC". The Libya Observer. 1 April 2019. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  10. ^ Zaptia, Sami (2019-05-03). "Over 2,400 children receive psychosocial support for war trauma as Serraj spokesperson deplores UNSMIL and Salame's poor conflict resolution efforts". Libya Herald. Archived from the original on 2019-05-04. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  11. ^ "Libya: Threat of Tripoli Fighting Raises Atrocity Concerns — Hiftar's Forces, Rival Militias Have History of Abuses". Human Rights Watch. 6 April 2019. Archived from the original on 9 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  12. ^ "International court drops case against slain Libyan general". The Associated Press. 15 June 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2022.