International Criminal Court: Abdullah al-Senussi to be tried in Libya

Friday 11 October 2013

The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled today that the case against Abdullah Al-Senussi, the former intelligence chief to Muammar Gaddafi is inadmissible before the Court.

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The Libyan Government had challenged the jurisdiction of the ICC to hear the case, on the grounds that their own national judicial system was already actively investigating charges against Mr Al-Senussi. The Pre-Trial Chamber was satisfied, based on the evidence submitted by the Libyan Government, that they are genuinely investigating the same charges. Furthermore, they found no indication that the Libyan investigation is being undertaken for the purposes of shielding Mr Al-Senussi from criminal responsibility in a way which would indicate "unwillingness" to co-operate with the ICC.

This is a historic decision in international criminal law as it is the first case in which an admissibility challenge has succeeded and a state has been permitted by the Court to try a suspect at home rather than surrender that person for trial by the ICC.

Libya was represented in its admissibility proceedings by an international legal team, including Paul Clark of Garden Court Chambers. Others in the team include Prof Philippe Sands QC, Prof James Crawford SC and Michelle Butler from Matrix Chambers, Prof Payam Akhavan from McGill University, Wayne Jordash from Doughty Street Chambers and Emma Collins from 3 Raymond Buildings.

The Court's decision, a summary of the decision, and the ICC's press release can all be found on the ICC's website.

Paul Clark has been undertaking pupillage with Garden Court Chambers for the last 12 months. He takes up his tenancy later this month.

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