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International Criminal Court to Decide on Issuing Arrest Warrants Against Libyan Leader

  • Peter Clottey

International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo speaks at a news conference in The Hague, March 3, 2011 (file photo)

International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo speaks at a news conference in The Hague, March 3, 2011 (file photo)

Judges of the International Criminal Court are scheduled to announce today (Monday) whether to issue arrest warrants on counts of murder and persecution against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Richard Dicker, director of HRW’s International Justice Program, said his organization expects the Hague-based court to apply the statutes of the ICC to the evidence presented by the court’s chief prosecutor.

“[It’s our expectation] that the judges have done their work assessing the evidence and deciding one way or the other whether or not there is a reasonable basis to issue these arrest warrants,” said Dicker.

Some observers say the move could reinforce Gadhafi’s resolve “to fight to the last dead Libyan.” Dicker disagrees.

“That’s a claim that is not grounded in a reality,” said Dicker. ”He’s made quite clear his intentions to fight to the bitter end.”

Meanwhile, over the weekend, South African President Jacob Zuma held talks with heads of state from Mauritania, Uganda and Mali on peace and humanitarian aid efforts in Libya.

Zuma’s office said the leaders discussed efforts to secure a cease-fire to bring about political reforms needed to eliminate the causes of the Libyan conflict.

The African Union says its roadmap for peace is the best option for settling Libya’s political crisis.

AU spokesman El-Ghassim Wane said “only a political solution will make it possible to promote peace in a lasting manner that will also fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy…and good governance.”

Supporters of the AU say the arrest warrants will undermine the body’s efforts to resolve Libyan crisis.

“I don’t see those arrest warrants per se as making those efforts more difficult,” said Dicker.” That’s almost a reflexive concern that arises whenever there are arrest warrants.”

Gadhafi would be the second head of state pursued by the ICC prosecutor if the judges agree to issue the warrants.

The ICC issued them against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir after he was charged with committing war crimes in western Darfur.

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