War crimes court issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

The International Criminal Court on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity.

The ICC also issued warrants for the arrests of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

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The Hague-based court had accused Gaddafi of crimes against humanity and of ordering attacks on civilians after an uprising against his rule that began in mid-February.

“The chamber hereby issues a warrant of arrest against Muammar Gaddafi,” Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said during an ICC hearing, Agence France-Presse reports.

The warrants had been requested by ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in May.

Moreno-Ocampo said that Gaddafi and his two top aides bear the greatest responsibility for “widespread and systematic attacks” on unarmed Libyan civilians, and he accused Gaddafi of ordering his forces to gun down civilians in their homes, at funerals and outside mosques.

He said the court had evidence that Gaddafi had personally ordered attacks on civilians, and that he was behind the arrest and torture of his political opponents.

Saif al-Islam, who Moreno-Ocampo dubbed Gaddafi’s “de-facto prime minister,” has often been named as his father’s successor, while spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi, who is Gaddafi’s brother in law, acts as his “right-hand man.”

The Libyan government has previously said that it doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction.

Moreno-Ocampo’s call for the arrest of Gaddafi on war crimes charges is his second for a sitting head of state. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who in 2009 was indicted for war crimes, is still wanted by the ICC.

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