Will Qaddafi’s Arrest Warrant Backfire?

Today the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague issued arrest warrants for former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, as well as his son and chief of intelligence, for crimes against humanity, perpetrated in the first two weeks of anti-government demonstrations in Libya. Upon first inspection, it certainly seems this is a constructive move — justice is ostensibly being served and a new beginning is approaching.  An article in the Guardian, however, suggests that bringing charges of murder and persecution against the colonel will backfire.

The article suggests that the charges make Qaddafi’s ousting imminent, and therefore may merely reinforce his dedication to staying in Libya and fighting his dissenters. This is especially likely given that Qaddafi’s supporters have reported that their leader will  not step down, leave Libya, or turn himself over to the ICC or any other authorities — a commitment with which Qaddafi has remained consistent since dissent began to rage in February. Because the ICC has essentially branded him an international criminal, it certainly seems he will stay in his barracks for the time being.

Furthermore, by personally targeting Qaddafi, the ICC opens the floodgates for criticism as to its approach to the conflicts in Libya. It certainly does seem the international community is measuring success in Libya by the extent of Qaddafi’s grasp on power, rather than humanitarian improvements. Furthermore, many think the ICC practices a double standard when it comes to indicting world leaders who have committed crimes, evidenced by their pursuit of African leaders in Sudan and Kenya.

So, what do you think about the decision to charge Qaddafi? Was it the right choice, or could it serve to make matters worse?


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Filed under Africa, Arab Spring, Human Rights

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