War Crimes Prosecutors Seek Col Gaddafi's Arrest

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The Telegraph/UK

War Crimes Prosecutors Seek Col Gaddafi's Arrest

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has asked judges to issue an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and two other senior members of his embattled regime for crimes against humanity.

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A man looks at portraits of people who were killed or have disappeared during Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Benghazi, Libya, Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Luis Moreno-Ocampo says Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and intelligence chief Abdullah Al Sanousi ordered, planned and participated in illegal attacks.

He said Gaddafi's forces attacked civilians in their homes, shot at demonstrators, shelled funeral processions and deployed snipers to kill people leaving mosques.

Judges must now evaluate the evidence before deciding whether to confirm the charges and issue international arrest warrants.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo's investigators have conducted 30 missions to 11 countries and have interviewed more than 50 witnesses, including "key insiders," as well as reviewing videos, photographs and other evidence, prosecutors said last week.

In addition, several "high-level officials in Gaddafi's regime" also have called the court to say they are willing to provide information, prosecutors said on Sunday. They did not elaborate on the nature of the information or name the officials.

Many of Gaddafi's senior diplomats and supporters have switched sides or defected since fighting broke out in Libya in February.

His UN diplomatic staff, including Ambassador Abdurraham Mohamed Shalgham, defected in February. Mr Shalgham's replacement, Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former UN General Assembly president, defected himself in March and now lives in Cairo; Moussa Koussa, the foreign minister and one of Gaddafi's earliest supporters, fled to Britain and is now in Qatar.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says his team has gathered so much evidence that he is almost ready to go to trial. However any case is likely a long way off as the court has no police force to arrest suspects.

An international arrest warrant would however make it hard for Gaddafi to live in exile. Because the Security Council ordered the ICC investigation, all U.N. member states would be obliged to arrest him if he ventures into their territory.

Underscoring the difficulty the court has in getting hold of suspects, some nations have refused to act on arrest warrants. Three countries have let Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visit without arresting him. Al-Bashir has been indicted for crimes including genocide in Darfur in the only other International Criminal Court case ordered by the Security Council.

The elusive Gadhafi has shown little appetite for going into exile to end the crisis gripping his oil-rich North African nation, vowing instead to fight to the end.

The Libyan conflict appears largely stalemated, with each side claiming gains one day, only to be turned back the next, despite Nato air strikes aimed at supporting rebels.

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