ICC Prosecutor Request Arrest Warrants For Gaddafi and Two Others

As expected, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is asking the court to issue an arrest warrant for Col. Gaddafi and two of his most inner circle partners in crime.  In a statement to the press this morning, Ocampo says he has evidence that Gaddafi directly ordered attacks on civilians. Here’s the full statement.

Today 16 May 2011, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested ICC judges to issue arrest warrants against Muammar Abu Minya Gaddafi, Saif Al Islam Gaddafi and the Head of the Intelligence Abdullah Al Sanousi from crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 2011.

The Office gathered direct evidence about orders issued by Muammar Gaddafi himself, direct evidence of Saif Al Islam organizing the recruitment of mercenaries, and direct evidence of the participation of Al Sanousi in the attacks against demonstrators. Additionally the Office documented how the three held meetings to plan the operations.

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.

The evidence shows that persecution is still ongoing in the areas under Gaddafi control. Gaddafi’s forces prepare lists with names of alleged dissidents. They are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli, tortured and made to disappear. “These are not just crimes against Libyans, they are crimes against humanity as a whole,” the Prosecutor said.

This is the first case in Libya. The Office will further investigate allegations of massive rapes, war crimes committed by different parties during the armed conflict that started at the end of February, and attacks against sub-Saharan Africans wrongly perceived to be mercenaries. “There will be no impunity for such crimes in Libya,” said the Prosecutor.

ICC judges will now decide to accept the Prosecutor’s request, reject it or ask the Office of the Prosecutor for more evidence. The Prosecutor has not requested the intervention of international forces to implement the arrest warrants. Should the Court issue them and the three individuals remain in Libya, Libyan authorities have the primary responsibility to arrest them. When the time comes, implementing the arrest warrants will be the most effective way to protect civilians under attack in Libya and elsewhere.

The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

If the warrant is issued — and there is little reason to think that the pre-trial chamber would not do so — Gaddafi would have the dubious distinction of being the second head of state wanted by the ICC.