ICC prosecutor seeks Qaddafi arrest warrant for crimes against humanity

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced May 16 that he is seeking arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi and two others in his “inner circle” on charges of crimes against humanity. Ocampo said his office has gathered evidence that Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi plotted together to orchestrate attacks on civilians. He said al-Islam was acting as a “de facto Prime Minister” and called al-Sanussi, Qaddafi’s “right-hand man” and “executioner.” Ocampo said his office was almost prepared for trial, having collected quality testimony from some who have fled Libya. Ocampo said:

Muammar Gaddafi committed the crimes with the goal of preserving his authority… The [ICC prosecutor’s office] was able to gather direct evidence about orders issued by Muammar Gaddafi himself. The evidence shows that Gaddafi relied on his inner circle to implement a systematic policy of suppressing any challenge to his authority.

The ICC judges still have to approve the arrest warrants. The Pre-Trial chamber may deny the request, approve it or ask for additional information before issuing the warrants. The Libyan government has already said it will ignore the warrants and criticized the authority of the ICC over African leaders.

Ocampo had previously said that his office was planning to seek five arrest warrants in connection with Qaddafi’s administration. He indicated that there was strong evidence of Qaddafi’s involvement in various crimes against humanity, including the shooting of civilians, massive arrests, torture and forced disappearances. Ocampo revealed in April that his office had uncovered evidence that Qaddafi planned to attack civilians to forestall regime-toppling revolution. Ocampo indicated that the plans were made in response to the conflicts in Tunisia and Egypt and included shooting civilians. In March, Ocampo told the press that he was 100 percent certain his office would bring charges against Qaddafi. Also in March, the ICC launched a probe into allegations of crimes against humanity by the Libyan government.

From Jurist, May 16. Used with permission.

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