Hague court urges aides to arrest Gadhafi

Hague court urges aides to arrest Gadhafi

Prosecutor presses inner circle to turn Libyan leader over for trial

As battles raged through a fifth month between Gadhafi’s forces and rebels backed by Nato air strikes, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was optimistic that Gadhafi’s regime 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.

Darfur conflict

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 UN Security Council, which authorised the court to investigate the Darfur conflict.

“China is not a signatory of the ICC and we reserve our opinion on the prosecution of al-Bashir,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing. The US also is not a signatory to the court’s statute.

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