Monday, 16 May 2011

ICC chief prosecutor seeks warrant for Qadhafi

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is seeking the arrest of Libya's Leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi, his son Saif Al-Islam and the country's Intelligence Chief Abdullah Al-Sanussi.

Moreno-Ocampo said all three individuals were largely responsible for the "widespread and systematic attacks" on civilians. It will be up to the ICC judges to issue warrants for their arrests.

Libyan authorities have announced they will take no heed of the statement. Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kaim said both the Court and its practices were "questionable".

Qadhafi is the second sitting head of State that Moreno-Ocampo has urged to be arrested on charges of war crimes. The first, and one yet to be brought to justice, is Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir.

Experts fear that Qadhafi's arrest would potentially complicate the situation in Libya and make it harder to negotiate a ceasefire. Libya has already vocalised its dismissal of ICC, however, Moreno-Ocampo has said that after reviewing more than 1,200 documents and conducting over 50 interviews with key insiders and witnesses, his office had evidence implicating Qadhafi in the ordering of the killings of “unarmed Libyan civilians".

Speaking at a news conference in The Hague, Moreno-Ocampo said: “His forces attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public spaces, shot demonstrators with live ammunition, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after prayers…The evidence shows that such persecution is still ongoing as I speak today in the areas under Gaddafi control. Gaddafi forces have prepared a list with names of alleged dissidents, and they are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli and tortured.”

He added: “The evidence shows that Gaddafi relied on his inner circle to implement a systematic policy of suppressing any challenge to his authority…His second-oldest son, Saif al-Islam, is the de facto prime minister and Sanussi, Gaddafi's brother-in-law, is his right-hand man - the executioner, the head of military intelligence. He commanded personally some of the attacks."

Sources: BBC News, Voice of America, FT, Los Angeles Times

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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