May 16, 2011

TSG IntelBrief: Muammar al-Qadhafi: Indicted War Criminal



On May 16, 2011, Col Muammar al-Qadhafi became – along with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir - one of the very few world leaders indicted for war crimes when the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor stated that he was seeking the arrest of the Libyan leader for crimes against humanity.

The Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that Qadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Sanussi, the head of the feared Libyan intelligence apparatus (and Qadhafi's brother in law), bore the greatest responsibility for "widespread and systematic attacks" on civilians.

After the review of more than 1,200 documents and 50 interviews (including interviews with what were described as 'key insiders'), he stated that his office had evidence that Qadhafi had "personally ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians".

At a press conference in The Hague, the Chief Prosecutor stated:

"His forces attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public spaces, shot demonstrators with live ammunition, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after prayers."

He also stated that the three men were suspected of committing crimes against humanity in two categories - murder and persecution - under the Rome Statute, which established the court in 2002.

The accusations of criminal actions concern the days immediately after February 15 2011 when the uprising in Libya started.  Somewhere between 500-700 people were killed in these uprisings.

However, the indictments carry a risk for interlocutors with Qadhafi of guilt by association, and therefore their adoption may also be a cause of concern to some as much as a cause of celebrations to others.


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