Champions of the ICC theorize it will deter future crimes. Reality proves otherwise. The court has been operational since 2002, so the most persuasive evidence is that almost 10 years after the court's inception, Gadhafi was sufficiently unimpressed that he is doing what comes naturally for terrorists and dictators. History is full of cases where even military force or the threat of retaliation failed to deter aggression or gross criminality. If the West is not prepared to use cold steel against Gadhafi, why should he or any future barbarian worry about the ICC?
The plain if deeply unpleasant fact is that history's hard men are not deterrable by the flimsy threat of eventual prosecution. This underlines why the court itself is so otherworldly. It does not operate in a civil society of shared values and history, but in the chaotic, often brutal realm of international politics. Resorting to the ICC cannot change matters of international politics and power into matters of law.
A new Libyan government should be responsible for dealing with Gadhafi's atrocities. Every crime he is responsible for, from the terrorist bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, to his current street massacres, has been done in the name of the Libyan people. They are the ones who should judge Gadhafi, as Iraqis did with Saddam Hussein.
Gadhafi's fate will raise hard questions for any successor Libyan government. But it is entirely appropriate that it be Libyans who confront and decide such issues and bear the consequences, good and bad, of determining how to dispense justice to him. Political maturation for Libya's citizens, as for those of any country, will not come from outsiders making judgments for them, but from them making their own decisions and living with the results.