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Is the ICC entitled to arrest Gaddafi?

[This article was published on july 29, 2011 (when Gaddafi was still in power) in Korrektheiten: „Darf der Internationale Strafgerichtshof (IStGH) Gaddafi verhaften?„, Author and translator: Manfred Kleine-Hartlage]

Does no one really wonder about the fact that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Muammar al-Qaddafi? Is he actually allowed to do so?

This court was established by the signatories of the Rome Statute to prosecute certain crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aggression) to punish countries whose own judiciaries are not willing or not able to prosecute such acts; thus, classically, for the prosecution of government crimes and crimes of private parties in „failed states“ with no working justice system.

The public was told that the Court will be active only for crimes on the territories of signatory states, and certainly any state is free to join such an agreement and to give its provisions domestic legal force. Equally obvious is that no state has the right unilaterally to subject another sovereign state to its jurisdiction or to authorize third parties to do so. And what is forbidden to one state is equally forbidden to many.

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