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Libyan Opposition Compiling Evidence of Gadhafi Abuse, Atrocities

Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi stand on a road as they secure an area outside the village of Bin Jawwad, west of the recently captured oil town of Ras Lanuf, eastern Libya, March 5, 2011

The leader of the opposition Justice and Democracy Party of Libya says he has begun compiling evidence of what he describes as flagrant human rights abuses and grave atrocities perpetrated by forces loyal to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi against anti-government protesters.

Hadi Shalluf, who is also an international lawyer, says the evidence will be sent to the International Criminal Court for the prosecution of Gadhafi and his regime, including his immediate family.

“We are trying to gather the information to give them to the public prosecutor and the ICC (International Criminal Court), and also present it to the Libyan (court) jurisdiction in the future, when we catch Gadhafi or we arrest him in Libya,” said Shalluf.

“We are gathering the information from the media and from the Libyan people who sent it to us by video, YouTube and photos. Those are the documents and (information) we are getting now.”

This came after pro-Gadhafi forces launched air strikes and engaged in heavy ground fighting with rebel forces advancing from the eastern part of the country. Government forces pushed rebels out of the town of Bin Jawwad Sunday.

The rebels had been heading toward Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, about 150 kilometers west of Bin Jawwad. Pro-Gadhafi forces remain in control of Sirte and rebel commanders said earlier Sunday that government loyalists were reinforcing the town.

Shalluf says he is working with other human rights organizations in Libya to compile more evidence against the Gadhafi regime.

“As you know, the revolutionists are not fighting; they have started defending themselves against what Gadhafi is using, like using the mercenaries. We got information that Gadhafi brought from outside more than 60,000 mercenaries from some African countries and from Ukraine and other places, and also some Italians are helping him,” said Shalluf.

“We also heard yesterday that there are some people who are helping him from Israel. There may be some officers that come from Israel to help Gadhafi because Gadhafi’s son went to Israel and met with the officers and then asked them to help him. So, the crime is not only being committed by Gadhafi, but also the mercenaries hired by Gadhafi involved in this situation.”

Meanwhile, in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, heavy gunfire broke out before dawn Sunday and continued for at least two hours. The reason for the gunfire was not immediately clear, but Libyan authorities said it was to celebrate the government retaking control of the rebel-held cities of Misurata and Ras Lanuf. Residents and eyewitnesses in both those cities deny any government takeover.