International Criminal Court Seeks Gaddafi Arrest Warrant

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested arrest warrants Monday for Libyan leader Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi, his second oldest on Saif al-Islam and his brother-in-law and intelligence chief Abdullah al Sanoussi.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his office plans to investigate others, but right now Moreno-Ocampo claims he can directly trace evidence of attacks on civilians and other crimes against humanity to Gaddafi, his son and his brother-in-law, citing his belief that the three operated as an “inner circle,” orchestrating the killing of peaceful protesters, with Saif al-Islam operating as a “de facto prime minister,” the Guardian said.

Moreno-Ocampo and his team gathered their evidence after traveling to 11 countries, conducting interviews with about 50 key witnesses and reviewing videos and more than 1,200 documents.

If the ICC judges approve the warrant for Gaddafi, it would only be the second time the ICC has sought a warrant for a sitting head of state, the BBC pointed out. (The first is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted for genocide in Darfur.)

Moreno-Ocampo discussed his request at a press conference at ICC headquarters in The Hague, as CNN reported:

“The evidence shows that civilians were attacked in their homes; demonstrations were repressed using live ammunition; heavy artillery was used against participants in funeral processions, and snipers placed to kill those leaving the mosques after the prayers,” Moreno-Ocampo said.

“The evidence shows that persecution is still ongoing in the areas under Gadhafi control,” he said. “Gadhafi’s forces prepare lists with names of alleged dissidents. They are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli, tortured and made to disappear.”

Authorities believe Gadhafi “personally ordered” attacks on unarmed civilians, he said, and al-Sanussi is “his right-hand man, the executioner.”

The Libyan government said it will ignore the Court’s announcement since Libya doesn’t recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction and claims the ICC was set up by the European Union in order to prosecute African leaders.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kaim dismissed the potential ICC action, saying that because Libya is not a signatory of the Rome Statute — which established the ICC — the government will “just ignore it,” CNN said.

The ICC has no police force of its own, and as MSNBC noted,

The warrants are not expected to have any immediate impact on the war in Libya, but they could make it harder for their targets to end the conflict by going into exile. Because the Security Council ordered the ICC investigation, all U.N. member states would be obliged to arrest him if he ventures into their territory.

However, even if Gaddafi flees Libya, some nations have refused to act on arrest warrants. For example, three countries have let Sudan’s Bashir visit without arresting him, MSNBC also said.

CNN pointed out that Moreno-Ocampo’s request for the arrest warrants:

was the first time the International Criminal Court has taken action while a conflict was ongoing. It is the culmination of an investigation that began February 15, when demonstrations against Gadhafi’s regime accelerated. Since then, war has erupted in Libya as the strongman has tried to stay firm on his grip on power.

“Gadhafi ruled Libya through fear,” Moreno-Ocampo said Monday, “and I think Libyans are losing that fear.”

Moreno-Ocampo will present the evidence to the Criminal Court’s panel of three judges who will decide whether or not to accept the request, or to ask for more evidence. That decision should come in three to four weeks. In addition, as the BBC noted, “an inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council is expected to submit its report on the alleged war crimes to the UN Security Council on 7 June.”

To read more about the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa click here.  


Photo courtesy of BRQ via Flickr


John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks, interesting.

Ann F.
Ann F6 years ago


Dominic C.
Dominic C6 years ago

What about Basher Al Assad and his cronies? Are we going to let him off as well? It seems lopsided to just want to take down the Libyan dictator only.

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton6 years ago

They tried 2x I hope the 3rd is a charm.!!!

Stephen Greg
Jason T6 years ago

Who cares, the ICC is a joke.

Edward M.
Edward M6 years ago

An International Criminal Court?
Are these people really being serious?
When so many other criminals, far more heinous, are completely ignored, this Court is shown up as a sham, and it's embarrassing to people who value the rule of International Law over this World.

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

A good article on this from an appropriately-named site:

Devoted to the conviction that 2 2 still does & will always = 4.

Andrew W.
Andrew W6 years ago

Just take this transcription as you read it.

On 2007, according to the UN, Libya had:

The largest world rate of human development, even today ahead of Brazil.

Free education, including university.

10% of its students where in European and North-American universities, all paid.

A newly married couple received $50,000 for housing.

Bank loans were not submitted to interest rates.

In 2007 they had the largest irrigation system in the world, which has been changing their desert into agricultural fields for food.

All this was possible only with petroleum money and Kaddafi’s wish, of course.

What is that humanitarian attack to free the Libyan people?

They destroyed their cities ,by blocking sea access.

Children are short of medicines and food.

Water in no longer edible.

150,000 are leaving the country daily through Tunisia and Egypt.

If the bombing ended today, 4 million people would need humanitarian help (water and food) to survive, out of a 6.5 million population.

Concluding: the “humanitarian bombing” destroyed the Libyan nation. There never will be a Libyan nation as we knew it, as described above.


For more info see UNHCR.

Take your own conclusions, and tell people why the US did not apply to international courts about Osama and just murdered him. The USA is becoming a murderer country. One wonders if the purpose is to justify the hatred it has generated

Ameer T.
Ameer T6 years ago

i wonder why America did not apply to the International Criminal court in Osama's case. It would have at least impressed the wrold that America really has a sense of Justice it propagates.

And if Osama Bin Ladin could be just killed outrightly, no trial, no witnesses, no judge or jury and dumped at sea; why not just demonize Gaddafi a bit more, call him an international terrorist, pin some accusations on him like supporting Al-Qaida and some other fake named terrorists and just storm his house and shoot him.

Later Obama can claim victory over a dictator and a threat to the world. His presidential rating will increase and Americans will get yet another chance to throw another party and chant U.S.A, U.S.A!!!

I dont know why America wants to legitamize its actions anymore at all. Gulliable Americans are believing things hook, line and sinker anyway.

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

A real international criminal court would be excellent - this one acts like an arm of NATO. Next thing, the U.S. will be signing-on. When it happens, remember I told you so.

Start with Henry Kissinger - he's getting on and wouldn't want him to escape. Take the rest chronologically through the 1980s, '90, up to today.

Whatever bad and good this fellow has done, on a world scale he is minor. Whenever the powerful want to attack, they take care to demonize their object and the brainwashed ignorant fall for it. Where next, Pakistan? Again, I will have told you so.