Prosecutor presses inner circle on Gadhafi arrest
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged Moammar Gadhafi’s own aides Tuesday to arrest the Libyan leader and turn him over for trial on murder and persecution charges — or risk prosecution themselves.
As battles raged through a fifth month between Gadhafi’s forces and rebels backed by NATO airstrikes, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was optimistic that Gadhafi’s rule would be over within two or three months.
On Monday, the court issued arrest warrants for the Libyan leader, his son Seif and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi for crimes against humanity. But the court has no police force, and relies on the law enforcement agencies of the 115 countries that ratified the court’s founding statute.
Libya is not a member, but Moreno-Ocampo advised Gadhafi’s inner circle to arrest their leader. They “can be part of the problem and be prosecuted or they can be part of the solution — work together with other Libyans and stop the crimes,” he told reporters at the court.
NATO forces operating in Libyan skies have no mandate to arrest suspects, he said. And NATO itself has said it does not want to put combat forces on the ground. The prosecutor said the other option for arresting Gadhafi is through the rebels fighting to end his more than four decades in power.
The court’s enforcement problems were underscored this week by the trip to China by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was charged last year by the international court with genocide in Darfur. China is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, which authorized the court to investigate the Darfur conflict.