ICC Captive Is Pawn in Struggle between Militias and the NTC
My latest on Al-Jazeera English Opinion ICC Captive Is Pawn in Struggle between Militias and the NTC: Four ICC officials detained by Libyan militia are prisoners of the political chaos gripping the North African state.
The fault lines dividing the interim Libyan central government from both the militias and the international community are starkly illustrated by the ongoing saga surrounding the detention of four International Criminal Court (ICC) officials in Libya since June 7.
In today’s Libya, the NTC does not have a monopoly on force. Far from it. It is the plethora of regional militias that effectively control the country. This ongoing tug of war between the NTC and the militias does not bode well for Taylor and her colleagues. The most probable explanation for all the diplomatic manoeuvring is that the NTC simply lacks the power to compel the Zintani militia to release her, but simultaneously wishes to use the Taylor issue to stake out a populist position. Moreover, since Taylor’s incarceration on June 7, the Libyans have a powerful bargaining chip to trade for the ICC’s “determination” that Libya now possesses the judicial capacity to try Saif.
The NTC is clearly caught up in a zero-sum struggle for power with the militias, setting a bad precedent for the forging of a working relationship between the militias and the soon-to-be-elected new government. Caught in the whirlwind is Melinda Taylor, whose bosses at the ICC do not seem to appreciate how power is currently being contested in the new Libya. The ICC appears willing to appease the NTC, but what are they offering the Zintani militiamen who actually hold her captive? As far as I can tell, nothing.