A mass demonstration in the North African state of Libya in support of the government in Tripoli. The imperialist states, led by the US, UK and France, have been bombing the oil-rich nation for over 100 days., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libya Describes Al Qathafi Arrest Warrant as 'NATO Cover'
Libya has rejected the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Council Monday in The Hague, for the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi, his son Seif and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, saying it does not accept the ICC's jurisdiction and that the move was a "cover" for a NATO bombing campaign.
The decision is a "cover for NATO which is still trying to assassinateAl Qathafi," Libya's justice minister, Mohammed al-Gamudi said at learning of the arrest warrants. He also noted that Libya was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome establishing the tribunal based in The Hague, and "does not accept the jurisdiction of the court".
The ICC's arrest warrant intended for crimes against humanity committed against opponents of the regime, was hailed by world powers and leaders of rebels who have been fighting to overthrow Muammar Al Qathafi from power after a rule of more than 41 years, since his forces launched a bloody crackdown on pro-reform protests in mid-February.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the rebel National Transitional Council, has vowed to bring the Libyan leader to justice, and welcomed the move by saying "justice has been done". The news of the arrest warrant was greeted with a hail of gunfire into the air and blasts of car horns by the residents of the rebels' stronghold, Benghazi.
The rebel leader, speaking through an interpreter, said the decision by the ICC to pursue Gaddafi for war crimes made.
At the same time, Mr Jalil said that the ICC's decision to pursue the Libyan leader for war crimes stops all suggestions of negotiations and any talks impossible with, or protection for Al Qathafi.
He also reportedly vowed to bring the Libyan leader to task for crimes committed before the February uprising, but ruled out suggestions. At the same time he ruled out suggestions that a foreign force would be needed to catch him.
"We will do all we can to bring Al Qathafi to justice... The Libyan people are able to implement this decision," he said.
The ICC's decision will heap pressure on those close to Al Qathafi, as they raised the prospect of further prosecutions. "If anyone hides him, they will be tracked down and brought to justice," Jalil warned.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is urging Al Qathafi’s own aides to arrest the Libyan leader and turn him over for trial on murder and persecution charges.
Moreno-Ocampo has been reported saying by AP that Al Qathafi's inner circle has to decide whether to be part of the problem or part of the solution in Libya. The warrants isolate Al Qathafi and his regime, but the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal has no police force and therefore must rely on others to make the arrest.
While reaction by Western leaders as to the arrest warrant was greeted with satisfaction, particularly from the US, Britain, France, and also NATO, who said that Al Qathafi “has lost his legitimacy,” and that the Al Qathafi regime should see the writing on the wall, as becomes even more isolated, South African President Jacob Zuma expressed disappointment at the court's decision.
Zuma, who has been involved in an African Union initiative on Libya, said, through presidentual spokesman Zizi Kodwa: "It's quite unfortunate that the ICC could take such a decision whilst the African Union through its ad hoc committee has done so much."