Libya: Muammar Gaddafi subject to ICC arrest warrant
27 June 2011
Muammar Gaddafi is accused of personally ordering attacks on civilians
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, accusing him of crimes against humanity.
The court had grounds to believe he had ordered attacks on civilians during Libya's four-month uprising, it said.
The Hague-based court also issued warrants for two of Col Gaddafi's top aides - his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the conflict.
Anti-Gaddafi forces said on Monday they had launched a new push towards Tripoli, with heavy fighting near the strategic town of Bir al-Ghanam, to the south-west of capital.
The rebel defence minister told the BBC that forces opposed to Col Gaddafi may also make a move on the capital from the east.
'Unquestioned control'
The ICC arrest warrants refer to early weeks of the uprising, from 15 February until "at least 28 February".
The statement, read out by presiding judge Sanji Monageng, said there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that the three men were "criminally responsible" for the murder and persecution of civilians.
As the "recognised and undisputed leader of Libya", said the arrest warrant for Col Gaddafi, he had "absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control" over the state.
He introduced a state policy "aimed at deterring and quelling by any means, including by the use of force, the demonstrations of civilians against the regime", the court alleged.
The warrant says that while Saif al-Islam Gaddafi holds no official position in Libya, he is "the most influential person" in Col Gaddafi's inner circle.
Mr Sanussi, said the court, had "indirectly instructed the troops to attack civilians demonstrating" in Benghazi, the city that has become the rebels' stronghold.
The BBC's Andrew Harding in Misrata said there was celebratory gunfire on the streets of the besieged city as the news emerged.
"We are extremely happy that the whole world has united in prosecuting Gaddafi for the crimes he has committed," rebel council spokesman Jalal al-Galal told Reuters news agency from the rebel stronghold Benghazi. "The people feel vindicated by such a response."
On the military front, meanwhile, the rebels have advanced some six miles (10km) towards Tripoli in the past 24 hours, says the BBC's Mark Doyle on the front line about 40 miles south-west of the capital.
The fighting is taking place on a plain of rock and sand between Bir al-Ghanem and Bir Ayyad a few miles to the south, with shells whistling overhead in both directions and plumes of smoke and sand rising into the air, he says.
The rebels seem better armed in this strategic area than elsewhere in the country, adds our correspondent, who saw several pick-up trucks full of rebel soldiers - in clean uniforms and new-looking rocket launchers and rifles - heading for the front line.
'No legitimacy'
The warrants had been requested by chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in May. He has said Col Gaddafi must be arrested in order to protect civilians.
But the Libyan authorities have previously said they do not recognise the court and are not concerned by the threat of a warrant.
On Sunday, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the court was overly preoccupied with pursuing African leaders and had "no legitimacy whatsoever".
The ICC announcement came as the international air operation in Libya, aimed at protecting civilians, enters its 100th day.
It was welcomed by Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said the court's decision highlighted the increasing isolation of the Libyan regime.
"It reinforces the reason for Nato's mission to protect the Libyan people from Gaddafi's forces," said Mr Fogh Rasmussen in Brussels.
Washington said the warrants underscored the importance of the coalition effort in Libya, and were another sign Col Gaddafi had lost his legitimacy.
"We certainly believe that in the face of crimes of the magnitude that he has committed, and the gravity, there must be justice and accountability," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague called on people within the Libyan regime to abandon their leader and said those responsible for "atrocities" must be held to account.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy echoed those sentiments, saying of the Libyan leader: "After 41 years of dictatorship, it is perhaps time to stop, for him to leave power."
Related Internet Links
ICC
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Top Stories
Bloodshed in West Bank as conflict broadens
Palestinians and the Israeli security forces clash during protests in the occupied West Bank.
2 hours ago
Israel strike collapses building during BBC report
6 hours ago
Migrant children kept overnight on US buses
13 minutes ago
Features
Teen girl found in boat drifting for three weeks at sea
Why doesn't Japan cancel the Tokyo Olympic Games?
Israelis and Palestinians turn to TikTok
Pilgrims flock to online sanctuary in their millions
Why Liz Cheney's sacking by the Republicans matters
A lost whale - 6,000 miles from home
How a 13,000-year-old drink took over the world
‘I feared I would drown in my bedroom’
Striking news pictures from around the world
Elsewhere on the BBC
Football phrases
15 sayings from around the world
Most Read
Jeff Bezos and the secretive world of superyachts1
Lottery 'winner' says she lost $26m ticket in wash2
Bitcoin scam victim 'ashamed and embarrassed'3
Bloodshed in West Bank as conflict broadens4
Pokémon card sales halted over security concerns5
Delay child vaccinations and share jabs, WHO urges6
Trump loyalist wins Republican leadership post7
Harry: I want to break cycle of pain for my family8
Indian variant could disrupt 21 June easing - PM9
Republican accused of 'verbal assault' in Congress10
BBC News Services
On your mobile
On smart speakers
Get news alerts
Contact BBC News
Home
News
Sport
Reel
Worklife
Travel
Future
Culture
Music
TV
Weather
Sounds
Terms of Use
About the BBC
Privacy Policy
Cookies
Accessibility Help
Parental Guidance
Contact the BBC
Get Personalised Newsletters
Why you can trust the BBC
Advertise with us
AdChoices / Do Not Sell My Info
© 2021 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.
BBC HomepageSkip to contentAccessibility HelpSign inHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMenuSearchHomeNewsSportReelWorklifeTravelFutureCultureMusicTVWeatherSounds
MenuHomeCoronavirusVideoWorldUS & CanadaUKBusinessTechScienceStoriesEntertainment & ArtsMoreHealthIn PicturesReality CheckWorld News TVNewsbeatLong ReadsWorldAfricaAsiaAustraliaEuropeLatin AmericaMiddle East