Rebels Near Tripoli as Arrest Warrants Are Issued for Qaddafi

The International Criminal Court has charged the leader with crimes against humanity

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As rebel forces clash with loyalists near the capital of Tripoli, the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi. The court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, relayed to CNN that he has enough evidence to link the trio "to crimes against humanity in their attempt to put down a months-long revolt." The prosecution's investigation, notes Al Jazeera, specifically took into account incidents occurring from Febuary 15-20 in Benghazi, Misurata and Tripoli, where Qaddafi cracked down against street protestors.

The announcement arrives as Libyan rebels have clashed with Qaddafi loyalists 50 miles southwest of Tripoli, the BBC reports. The minister of Defence for the rebels, Jalal al-Dgheli, told the British news organization that "What we're learning from defectors is that Gaddafi's supporters are getting fewer, people who are close to him are abandoning him, and his inner circle is getting smaller by the day."

As for the impact the ICC arrest warrant will have, Al Jazeera notes that there is precedent for a warrant to be ignored: "The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009; it has yet to be enforced." The Al Jazeera report concludes:

It's unclear what practical effect the arrest warrant will have on the three men. Gaddafi has made no public indication he is willing to give up power, and the warrant against Bashir seems to have little chance of being enforced: Bashir has travelled to Qatar, Chad and Egypt without incident.  

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