Monday, 27 June 2011

ICC issues Qadhafi's arrest warrant

After months of political turmoil in Libya, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi. The Court believes that Qadhafi is responsible for ordering attacks on Libyan civilians, thereby committing crimes against humanity. In addition, the ICC also issued warrants for Qadhafi's son Saif Al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Sanussi.

It is estimated that thousands of people have been killed in the on-going conflict. The warrants pertain to the early weeks of the uprising, from 15th February until "at least 28th February".

A statement, relayed by presiding judge Sanji Monageng, said the Court had "reasonable grounds to believe" that the accused were "criminally responsible" for the ordering of deaths of Libyan civilians. Monageng added that as a "recognised and undisputed leader of Libya" Qadhafi has "absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control" over the country. The Court also noted that while Saif al-Islam holds no official position he is “the most influential person" in his father's inner circle. As for Sanussi, the Court deemed that he "indirectly instructed the troops to attack civilians demonstrating" in Benghazi.

The warrant for Qadhafi's arrest was requested by chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in May, who urged the Court do so in order to protect Libyan civilians. News of the arrest warrants, were greeted in parts of Libya with celebrations.

Speaking about the ICC in the past, Libyan authorities said they did not recognise the Court. This statement was further fortified on Sunday 26th June when government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the Court was merely going after African leaders and had "no legitimacy whatsoever".

Sources: BBC News, The Guardian, The Independent

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

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