On 27 June 2011, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), in line with Article 58(1) of the Rome Statute, issued arrest warrants for the leader of Libya - Muammar Gaddafi. This means the embattled "leader of the revolution" who promised earlier this year to "cleanse" Libya of pro-democracy demonstrators is officially a wanted man at The Hague.
The issuance of this arrest warrant comes exactly one month and eleven days after the prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Acampo applied for three international criminal arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son - Saif al-Islam - and brother-in-law, Abdulla a-Sanussi.
ICC judges approved all three arrest warrants.
The judges believe that Gaddafi, Saif and Abdulla "conceived and orchestrated a plan" to crackdown on protesters and that the arrest of Gaddafi et al. "appears necessary."
Colonel Gaddafi of Libya is wanted for allegedly ordering attacks against demonstrators and committing crimes that amount to crimes against humanity.
According to the Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International, Michael Bochenek, "justice must be delivered to victims of serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed in Libya..."
This decision to issue three arrest warrants for some of the most feared men in Libya is commendable, but more crucial steps should be taken to ensure that Muammar Gaddafi and his cronies are hauled to The Hague to face justice for systematic violence against civilians.
On a side note: In 2009, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. But the Sudanese leader still walks free.
Pursuant to Article 58(4) of the Rome Statute, arrest warrants issued by the court "shall remain in effect until otherwise ordered by the court." Hence Omar al-Bashir remains wanted.
States Parties are obliged to cooperate with the ICC and arrest persons wanted by the court.
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