By Lauren Comiteau
Moammar Gadhafi is now an internationally wanted war crimes suspect. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son, Seif al-Islam and the head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi. Judge Sanji Monageng said there are grounds to believe the three are responsible for a state policy to quell opposition by any means and then cover up their alleged crimes.
“There are reasonable grounds to believe that as from 15 February 2011 and within a period of less than two weeks in February 2011, the security forces killed and injured, as well arrested and imprisoned, hundreds of civilians,” judge Monageng said.
Judges say the alleged crimes took place in the first two weeks of the uprising to force Gadhafi from power. The United Nations Security Council had asked the international court’s prosecutor to investigate the situation in February.
In requesting the warrants last month, prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said Gadhafi’s security forces had opened fire on demonstrators, used artillery on funeral processions and deployed snipers to target worshippers leaving mosques. Ocampo said the Libyan officials ordered the detention and torture of dissidents.
The judges say the arrest warrants are needed to stop future crimes and prevent more cover-ups.
The International Criminal Court does not have enforcement power but the statute establishing its jurisdiction will now oblige any member nation to arrest the Libyan leader and hand him over for trial.