Coalition Pilots Liable for War Crimes?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been mandated to investigate war crimes in Libya by a UN Security Council resolution which gives it the power to indict all sides in the conflict. In theory, this could make it possible that some coalition pilots may be exposed to war crimes indictments.

However, the resolution includes a condition which exempts forces from non-ICC states from its jurisdiction. That includes the US and any Gulf Arab states which are not bound by ICC strictures because they have not signed up to the court. Other ICC members, including EU states such as the UK and France, remain liable.

For the moment, the ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, says he has no plans to hold pilots responsible for collateral damage. However, any future ICC prosecutor could take a very different view.

Presumably Mr Ocampo has his hands full, assembling evidence on what is thought to be a growing list of alleged war crimes by the Gaddafi regime. Hague prosecutors are privately confident that they already have enough evidence to bring indictments against Gaddafi, his sons and his generals.

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