(As the badge says, LSE exists "To know the causes of things" - like who wrote Saif al-Islam's thesis....)
I was asked the other day by a Middlebury undergrad who is writing a thesis on NATO's intervention in Kosovo for proof that international law exists - or is at least effective.* And whilst it is possible to make lots of theoretical arguments, there is nothing like a good practical example to demonstrate that international law has teeth by changing behaviours - most notably of those who would otherwise see themselves as beyond the reach of the law.
Few in 2011 have been as far beyond the reach of the law as Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, especially after his "Rivers of Blood" speech on 21 Feb 11. Yet following military defeat and his indictment by the ICC, it is reported today that he has contacted the ICC through intermediaries to arrange his surrender to the Court. Naturally, the man that the ICC indictment refers to as the "de facto Prime Minister of Libya" protests his innocence, but it is telling that he's attempting to arrange his surrender - though clearly his limited other options and the absence of capital punishment make an ICC trial more attractive than being on the run in Libya.
And as for Saif al-Islam's PhD? Well, the London School of Economics** has referred its authorship to the University of London under the Procedure for Consideration of Allegations of Irregularity in Relation to University of London Awards. LSE now runs itself, but in 2008 when Saif al-Islam was awarded his PhD, it was still granting degrees via the University of London, and it is Senate House that will investigate the situation; a report is due later this year. At least there will be plenty of time for the ICC Registry to work out whether it needs to address its new defendant as "Dr Saif al-Islam" or simply "Mr. Gaddafi"....
*Eoin, I agree this is something of a simplification of your question.
** I loved my time at the LSE, and as painful as it is to see it's name blackened by the ill-judged Libyan connection, the Woolf Report should provide a solid foundation for transparency when it is published.