said the ICC had
issued an arrest
warrant for Saif
al-Islam on war
justice system was
not up to it. He
said this was no
longer the case, but
that the ICC would
We fear that this is not good enough, for even though
the ICC prosecutor made it clear that the Hague court
could only insist that it be the trial ground should
there appear to be in Libya, no appropriate court
willing and equipped to try him according to
international standards, it would appear that Saif could
well find himself in a position where he could be
executed by a Libyan court which has on its books - the
death penalty. The ICC does not sentence people to
death, hence the worst fate that Saif would face would
be a long, long term in prison, including life, if he is
found guilty of the crimes that would be hurled against
Sierra Leoneans would recall that our country set up
a hybrid court to try those deemed to be most
responsible for the outrages during the country's
troubles even though we had what appears to be a legal
system in place - a legal system that was thought to be
skewed and still had the death penalty and
would have been biased, given the passion and emotions
of victims, hence a somewhat neutral court of
the nature of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leoneans would also recall the pledge made by
President Koroma himself that the ICC is being put on
alert as the country prepares for the 2012 elections.
And just before that, he too should be reminded that the
ICC can step in if, in the opinion of right-thinking
people, his government is seen to be unable and
unwilling to try people engaged in acts that could point
to crimes against humanity.
He is therefore put on alert too, that his failure to
punish those who have been named in reports he
commissioned could well point observers and rights
groups as well as legal experts, to the rather
unwholesome fact that his government is unwilling and
unable to try potential human rights abusers engaged in
crimes against the people.
"...Saif is captured, so we are here to ensure
co-operation," he told reporters in Tripoli. "In May, we
requested an arrest warrant because Libyans could not do
justice in Libya. Now, as Libyans have decided to do
justice, they could do justice and we'll help them to do
it – that is the system.
Our international criminal court acts when the
national system cannot act. They [the Libyans] have
decided to do it, and that is why we are here – to learn
and to understand what they are doing and to co-operate.
The law says the primacy is for the national system.
If they prosecute the case here, we will discuss with
them how to inform the judges and they can do it. But
our judges have to be involved," Moreno-Ocampo added.
The government in Sierra
Leone is duly reminded of the last bit - "The law says
the primacy is for the national system. If they
prosecute the case here, we will discuss with them how
to inform the judges and they can do it. But our judges
have to be involved"
This puts the Ernest Bai
Koroma government on notice, a government which has been
quick to act on some sections of the
Kelvin Lewis report
but has failed in its promise to carry out that report's
recommendations in full. The ICC is also put on notice
about other reports on violence in Sierra Leone, like
the Shears-Moses report which has found a number of
people wanting, including one of his close associates
one Idrissa Kamara aka Leatherboot, among the cases of
political violence investigated by the report.