In a press conference, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has said there is evidence that Gaddafi personally ordered attacks on unarmed civilians. “Gaddafi’s forces attacked civilians in homes and public space, shot demonstrators with live ammo, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions and places snipers to kill those leaving mosques after prayers,” Moreno-Ocampo said.
There is further evidence that such persecution is still ongoing in areas under Gaddafi control. Forces prepare lists with names of alleged dissidents and they are being arrested, tortured or forced to disappear.
Moreno-Ocampo said that while most of the victims are Libyans, the widespread attacks affect the international community as a whole because the crimes committed are crimes against humanity.
Moreno-Ocampod said the ICC has direct evidence that Gaddafi personally ordered, relying on those closest to him, to suppress any rise against him. He relied most of Saif al-Islam, who Moreno-Ocampo called “his effective Prime Minister”, and his “right hand man and executioner” Abdullah Senussi. The evidence shows the three held meetings to plan and direct the operations against the Libyan people.
Moreno-Ocampo therefore asks for arrest warrants against Gaddafi, Saif al Islam, and Abdullah Sennusi. Until the judges make their decision, the office will conduct further allegations of rape and war crimes committed.
The UN, who is also investigating, will issue a report at the start of June, which will be taken into account by the ICC.
Moreno-Ocampo stressed that the office is not asking the international community to implement the arrest warrants. The Libyan authorities have the responsibility to do so if those under arrest warrants as long as they are in Libya. It is not until the arrest warrants have been accepted that the Libyan authorities must comply with them.
The way to protect civilians is to implement the arrest warrant, Moreno-Ocampo said, and it will send a clear signal to those who commit crimes in libya or elsewhere that “you can not retain power committing crimes against humanity.”
The fact that arrest warrants have been requested for three people does not mean that they are the only ones responsible, Moreno-Ocampo said. There are others who are responsible as well, and the Libyan authorities have the ability to investigate further, but the three are most responsible. Moreno-Ocampo said that “Gaddafi is everything” in Libya, and that he used the entire Libyan system to commit crimes; he is an indirect perpetrator. After him, Saif al-Islam and Abdullah Senussi were “critical components”.
The arrest warrants have not yet been issued. It is now up to the judges who can reject, accept or ask for more evidence.