Libya: Gaddafi ICC arrest warrant raises questions
The announcement by the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, that he’s seeking Col
Gaddafi’s arrest on war crimes charges has come at a critical time.
Nearly two months into NATO’s bombing campaign, the conflict is widely seen
as a stalemate. Some hope this legal intervention could help break it. But it’s also triggered charges that the international community is pursuing selective justice, with critics asking why the ICC is not pursuing similar investigations in Syria, Bahrain, or Yemen, where government forces are also accused of widespread atrocities.
The Argentinian prosecutor says he has evidence from witnesses and documents that Col Gaddafi “personally ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians”.
He’s also seeking the arrest of the Libyan leader’s son Saif, and his brother-in-law, the intelligence chief, Abdullah Sanussi, on similar
However, the political impact of this case may be more significant. Western governments and Libyan rebel figures hope the prospect of arrest will further isolate Gaddafi, persuading more of his supporters to defect before they end up on the ICC’s list too.
If the Hague-based court’s three judges approve the arrest warrant for Col Gaddafi it will be the second time they’ve gone after a sitting head of state.
Three years ago they approved a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, on genocide charges in relation to Darfur. But with no police force of its own the court has been unable to detain him, and President Bashir has managed to travel to several African states which don’t recognise the ICC. The same could happen with Col Gaddafi.
Libyan officials dismissed the court even before the ICC prosecutor announced he was seeking his arrest, calling it irrelevant.They have mocked the court as being a creature of the Europeans which only pursues African leaders and officials
Source: BBC News
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