Gruesome Details from Inside Qaddafi's War Crime Files

Documents reveal the Libyan leader's orders for slaughtering his people

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Libyan rebels have amassed thousands of documents implicating Qaddafi in brutal war crimes in Misrata that they have been holding in an undisclosed location for the International Criminal Court. These documents, full of details regarding atrocities planned and committed by Qaddafi, are intended to be a crucial part of the ICC's prosecution against him, Guardian reports. Rebels managed to save the documents only because lawyers who supported the rebellion managed to persuade protesters to protect army bases and police stations against arson when they broke in. When questioned why Qaddafi's army would leave such an incriminating paper trail, one Misratan war crimes investigator told Guardian it was because "they thought 100% that they were going to win. So they didn't care."

Guardian, which was granted access to some of these documents, relays some of the grim findings within, including:

  • A letter from March 4th, two weeks after Misrata rose up against Qaddafi, signed by the general he put in charge of the operation to quell the protest. The letter issues the instruction: "It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints." As Guardian puts it: "he ordered his army to inflict starvation on every man, woman and child in Misrata."
  • A message from Qaddafi that relayed to the troops orders that Misrata be obliterated and the "blue sea turned red" with the blood of the inhabitants.
  • Another document, bearing the stamp of Qaddafi's Anti-Terrorism Committee, that instructs forces to hunt down two wounded rebels who had fled to the neighboring town of Zlitan, a "clear violation of the guarantees of the Geneva conventions that demand protection for wounded combatants."

ICC Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has already requested warrants and filed indictments against Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. But Ocampo's original indictment did not include Misrata in the list of crimes of which Qaddafi is accused, "for the simple reason that prosecutors dared not travel to a shell-ravaged city." But sources at The Hague told Guardian that Misrata's crimes "will be presented, in gruesome detail, in a second Qaddafi indictment, expected to be ready in October." The ICC's prosecutors are expected to travel to Misrata to view the documents once the daily bombardments have ceased.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.