The International Criminal Court: Three Libyan Arrest Warrants Sought

Today the ICC’s Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, announced that his Office had applied to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court for the issuance of arrest warrants against Col. Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi.[1]

The charges are crimes against humanity by murder and persecution against civilians in Libya since February 15, 2011. They are a result of the Prosecutor’s investigations into this situation, pursuant to the U.N. Security Council’s referral of the matter to the ICC.[2]

The Prosecutor said that his office had evidence showing that Col Gaddafi had “personally, ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians.” The evidence also shows, the Prosecutor said, that Gaddafi’s forces “attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in the public space, repressed demonstrations with live ammunition, used heavy artilleryagainst participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after the prayers.”

The evidence also shows, according to the Prosecutor, that such persecution is ongoing and that Gaddafi forces ” prepare lists with names of alleged dissidents,” who “are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli, tortured and made to disappear.”

These crimes, added the Prosecutor, had been, and were being, committed with the goal of preserving Gaddafi’s “absolute authority” under “a systematic policy of suppressing any challenge to his authority.” The evidence also shows that Gaddafi himself gave the orders, that his son organized the recruitment of mercenaries to carry out the orders and that Sanussi participated in the attacks against demonstrators.

We now await the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber on the application for these arrest warrants.

[1]  BBC News, ICC prosecutor seeks warrant for Gaddafi (May 16, 2011),; Simons, International Court Prosecutor Seeks Warrants for Qaddafi, N.Y. Times (May 16, 2011),; Borger, Gaddafis named as war crimes suspects by international criminal court, Guardian (May 16, 2011),; ICC, Statement: ICC Prosecutor Press Conference on Libya (May 16, 2011),; Human Rights Watch, Libya: ICC Prosecutor Names First Suspects (May 16, 2011),

[2]  See Post: The International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Libya Investigation Status (May 8, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court and the Obama Administration (May 13, 2011).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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