Libya rejects ICC war crimes warrant


Libya has dismissed a move by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for leader Muammar Gadafy, rejecting the authority of the tribunal.

"Libya ... does not accept the decisions of the ICC which is a tool of the Western world to prosecute leaders in the Third World," justice minister Mohammed Al-Qamoodi told a news conference in Tripoli.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant yesterday for Col Gadafy for crimes against humanity – specifically alleging he has been directly responsible for the murder and persecution of civilians.

During a 30-minute hearing in The Hague, arrest warrants were also issued for Col Gadafy’s second-oldest son and de facto prime minister, Saif al-Islam, and for his brother-in-law Col Abdullah al-Sanoussi – the head of military intelligence.

The warrants – which presiding judge Sanji Monageng of Botswana said would be sent immediately to Tripoli – turn the three men into internationally wanted suspects, potentially complicating efforts to mediate an end to more than four months of relentless fighting in Libya.

As expected, the warrants and the court’s authority were rejected by the Libyan government even before Judge Monageng had finished reading the trial chamber’s ruling – which came as the international air operation to protect civilians entered its 100th day.

Additional reporting: Reuters