HRW, Amnesty hail Gaddafi arrest warrants

HRW, Amnesty hail Gaddafi arrest warrants

Human rights groups on Monday hailed the ICC announcement of arrest warrants for Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 28 Jun 2011, 12:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:44 PM

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement that by issuing a warrant for Gaddafi, the ICC “signalled that the law can reach even those long thought to be immune to accountability.”

In London, an Amnesty International statement said that if the three men were not arrested it would send a “disturbing” message.

War crimes judges issued the three warrants for Gaddafi and two of his closest allies for crimes against humanity committed against opponents of his regime, a judge at The Hague-based ICC said.

“The chamber hereby issue a warrant of arrest against Moamer Gaddafi,” Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said during a hearing.

The ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had asked for warrants for Gaddafi, 69, his son Seif al-Islam, 39, and Senussi, 62, for murder and persecution since mid-February when a bloody uprising in Libya started.

All three are charged over their roles in suppressing the revolt, in which civilians were murdered and persecuted by Libyan forces, particularly in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, the prosecutor said.

HRW called issuing the warrants “an important step to providing the victims of serious crimes in Libya the chance for redress,” and said it was unlikely there was a connection between the ICC probe and Gaddafi’s refusal to step down.

“Moamer Gaddafi already made clear he intended to stay until the bitter end before the ICC process was set in motion, and his son’s vow in February to ‘live and die in Libya’ speaks for itself,” HRW’s international justice director Richard Dicker said.

“It beggars belief that a dictator who has gripped power for over 40 years would be frozen in place by this arrest warrant.”

Michael Bochenek, Amnesty’s director of law and policy, said: “A failure to arrest and prosecute the accused men would send a disturbing message that such crimes can continue to be committed with impunity.

“No one should be allowed to evade international justice.”

The HRW statement said the group has documented “serious and systematic violations of the laws of war by Libyan government forces during the current armed conflict, including repeated indiscriminate attacks in residential neighborhoods in Misrata and towns in the Nafusa mountains of western Libya.

“Human Rights Watch has also documented human rights abuses by rebel forces,” it added.

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