Libya must arrest Kadhafi says prosecutor
Libya's regime could "be part of the solution" by executing an arrest warrant for Moamer Kadhafi, wanted for crimes against humanity, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor said Tuesday.
"Kadhafi's inner circle is the first option. They can complement the arrest warrants," Luis Moreno-Ocampo said at a press conference in The Hague.
"They can be part of the problem and be prosecuted, or they can be part of the solution, working together with the other Libyans to stop the crimes," he said.
The Hague-based court on Monday issued arrest warrants for Kadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and the Libyan intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi for murder and persecution since mid-February, when the bloody uprising started.
Monday's move was hailed by rights bodies and western governments on the 100th day of a NATO bombing campaign, but Tripoli hit back and rejected the warrants, calling the ruling a "cover for NATO which is still trying to assassinate Kadhafi."
On Tuesday, Moreno-Ocampo said: "Libya has the primary responsibility to implement the arrest warrants."
He said that although the north African country was not a State Party to the ICC's founding document, the Rome Statute, it was however a member of the United Nations and therefore had an obligation to co-operate.
As a second option, Moreno-Ocampo said the rebel Transitional National Council had also offered to arrest the Libyan leader.
"The Interim National Council has expressed its will to implement the arrest warrants," Moreno-Ocampo said, adding that Kadhafi's arrest was "a question of months" away if states co-operated with the court.
The prosecutor said rebel justice minister Mohammed Al-Allagy arrived at the court Monday and head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, was expected on Wednesday.
Moreno-Ocampo's investigation follows a referral by the United Nations Security Council on the Libyan conflict on February 26. The prosecutor's office launched its investigation five days later. On May 16, Moreno-Ocampo asked the court for the warrants.
Moreno-Ocampo said Tuesday that should Kadhafi be arrested he would have a fair trial.
"If he is arrested we are ready for trial. Legally he is still innocent. He can be arrested and come here, he will have a fair trial," Moreno-Ocampo said.
War crimes allegations, including rapes and attacks in Libya since the end of February, could form the basis of another investigation by the prosecutor.
Thousands of people have been killed in a bloody crackdown launched in response to an uprising which began on February 15 and an estimated 650,000 have fled the country, with nearly a quarter of a million people displaced internally, according to the UN.
© 2011 AFP