Burkina Faso Side-Steps the ICC

Earlier this week the foreign minister of Burkina Faso announced that his country would be offering Qaddafi haven to go into exile. This was made about the same time Ouagadougou recognized the Transitional National Council as the authority in Libya, along with Chad and Sudan. The foreign minister said that the offer to the Libyan dictator-in-flight was in the name of peace, but he is ignoring Burkina Faso’s obligation to the International Criminal Court, which has issued warrants for Qaddafi.

Would offering the leader a place of exile help usher in peace in Libya? Potentially. But I am of the belief that justice and peace are intertwined, and that peace will be that much less sustainable if he eludes the accountability that justice brings. A number of countries have been skirting their responsibilities by allowing indicted criminals to attend summits or inviting them to ceremonies, but offering one exile is even worse. It is things like this that put even more obstacles before the ICC than already exist on the road to international justice, whether he takes the offer or not. Members of the Assembly of States Party to the ICC need to respect the obligations to the ICC and help bring in alleged criminals when they have an opportunity, not shield them.

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