ICC prosecutor requests arrest warrant for Gaddafi

15:10, May 17, 2011      

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Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the prosecutor said at a press conference on Monday.

Two other arrest warrants were also issued for his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Al-Sanousi, Libya's head of intelligence, for "war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor.

"The case is now before the judges, they can accept the request, reject, or ask for more evidence," said Moreno-Ocampo, "in the meantime, the office of prosecutor will continue the investigation."

It is now up to the Court to decide whether there is enough evidence to issue the warrants.

"We have very strong evidence; we are almost ready for trial. We never fail when we require," added the prosecutor.

Libyan officials have already denounced the ICC prosecutor's action, saying the court is a creation of the West for prosecuting African leaders.

Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Kaim of Libya said, "Libya did not recognize its jurisdiction, like most African countries and the United States, and would ignore any announcement."

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said in a statement that the ICC was "dependent on media reports to evaluate the situation in Libya."

The ICC has thus "reached incoherent conclusions," he said.

Also on Monday, NATO said that its warships intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden boat heading for Libya's western port city of Misrata.

NATO dispatched warships and helicopters after detecting two rigid-hull inflatable boats that appeared to have come from the vicinity of Zlitan and were headed towards Misrata, the alliance said in a statement.

As NATO forces approached, one boat escaped at high speed towards Zlitan, leaving the other one behind, it said.

The NATO troops inspected the abandoned boat, discovering about one ton of explosives aboard and two human mannequins. The boat was later destroyed by a NATO warship using small arms fire.

"This is the first evidence of an attempt to use an improvised explosive device with decoy human mannequins to threaten commercial shipping and humanitarian aid in the area of Misrata," the statement said.

It is the third attack attempt on the rebel-held Misrata port by Gaddafi forces in recent weeks.

Gaddafi's forces have previously laid mines in the Misrata harbor on April 29, and attempted an attack on the Misrata port by a number of fast small boats on May 12. The attack was thwarted by NATO warships.

A total of 21 ships under NATO command are patrolling the Central Mediterranean to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

The Libyan government said Sunday it would declare cease-fire as soon as NATO calls off the air raids.

"Libya is very willing to implement an immediate cease-fire at the same time NATO stops its bombing," Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi told UN envoy on Libya Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib, who was in Tripoli trying to mediate a truce.

According to reports of the Libyan news agency, Mahmudi also said Libya would accept the monitoring of international observers.

The prime minister reiterated that Libya is determined to safeguard its territorial integrity and national unity. "The Libyan people should determine their domestic affairs and political system through free and democratic dialogue instead of bombing and threats."

He accused NATO of a number of offenses, including abusing and violating the UN resolution on the no-fly zone, conducting political assassinations, bombing civilian facilities and infrastructures, as well as killing innocents.

NATO continued on Sunday its air strikes on military and civilian targets in the suburbs of Tripoli, with two rounds of bombings pounding the Tadjoura region 15 km east of downtown Tripoli within an hour.

Source: Xinhua
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