Khamis Gaddafi may be next on wanted list: ICC

AMSTERDAM Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:51pm EDT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Another of Muammar Gaddafi's sons, whose military unit is accused of killing dozens of detainees in Tripoli, may be placed on the war crimes court's most wanted list, the prosecutor told Reuters on Monday.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has already approved warrants for the arrest of Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may also apply for an arrest warrant for Gaddafi's son Khamis, after Human Rights Watch said members of the Khamis Brigade, a force commanded by him, appeared to have carried out summary executions of detainees whose bodies were found in a warehouse in Tripoli.

"We know Khamis should also be prosecuted because Khamis was the commander of the brigade that was more active on some of the crimes," Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that he did not rule out the possibility of seeking an arrest warrant for him and for others.

"We will see because the Libyans are willing to investigate some cases themselves. We will see what happens."

Moreno-Ocampo said a U.N. Human Rights Council commission would conduct further investigations on the ground in Libya soon and that he would base his decisions on the results.

TOO HASTY?

Moreno-Ocampo's office caused confusion earlier this month when it claimed it had confirmation from its own sources that Gaddafi's son Saif had been captured by rebel forces -- only to be proved wrong when Saif made a public appearance soon after.

Some critics say the ICC was too hasty and should have held off issuing arrest warrants -- at least until an exit had been negotiated for Gaddafi and his clan -- because Gaddafi's fear of a war crimes trial in The Hague may actually have helped prolong the conflict in the oil-rich North African country.

Moreno-Ocampo dismissed such criticisms, saying "usually the complaint is that I'm too slow, not too fast" when it comes to launching investigations into such atrocities.

"Negotiation is not my business, my timing is defined by the evidence. When I have enough evidence to present charges, I present it."

And he said there was no reason why a politically negotiated resolution could not take place even while the ICC was pursuing Gaddafi's arrest.

"The only thing is political negotiations have to respect legal limits and court decisions," Moreno-Ocampo said, admitting that a negotiated exit for Gaddafi, including exile, could mean that he ends up in a country which is not an ICC member state and which is therefore not obliged to hand him over to the ICC.

"The law is that (ICC) state parties have an obligation to arrest Gaddafi. Libya has an obligation because the Security Council said that. For non-state parties it is a policy decision. They can arrest him or not. It is up to them."

(Additional reporting by Giles Elgood)

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