Journal Article

Libya, the International Criminal Court and Complementarity

Carsten Stahn

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 10, issue 2, pages 325-349
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI:
Libya, the International Criminal Court and Complementarity

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The situation in Libya marks the first precedent in which the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) intervention was coupled with the invocation of responsibility to protect (R2P). The referral was initially heralded as a victory for international justice. But it put the ICC in a delicate position. The ICC’s response shows that United Nations Security Council referrals remain a species of their own in the practice of the ICC, with their own specific pitfalls and problems. Following the arrest of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the situation in Libya has turned into a test case for the management of the notion of ‘shared responsibility’, set out by the R2P doctrine and the principle of complementarity under the ICC Statute. It highlights unresolved legal and policy dilemmas relating to: first, the interpretation of complementarity by different organs of the Court; secondly, the reach of the same conduct test; thirdly, the relationship between complementarity and cooperation (for example, sequencing of proceedings under Articles 89(4) and 94 of the ICC Statute); and fourthly, the relevance of due process and sentencing considerations under the admissibility regime.

Journal Article.  12463 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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