TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya dismissed a move by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday, rejecting the authority of the tribunal.
“Libya ... does not accept the decisions of the ICC which is a tool of the Western world to prosecute leaders in the Third World,” Justice Minister Mohammed al-Qamoodi told a news conference in Tripoli.
“The leader of the revolution and his son do not hold any official position in the Libyan government and therefore they have no connection to the claims of the ICC against them,” Qamoodi added.
Gaddafi holds no formal office in Libya’s political system despite having ruled for more than 41 years.
The Hague-based court approved warrants for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity. Prosecutors allege they were involved in the killing of civilian protesters who rose up in February against Gaddafi’s 41-year rule.
Presiding judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said Gaddafi and his son were accused of having “conceived and orchestrated a plan to deter and quell by all means the civilian demonstrations” against the regime. Senussi was accused of having attacks carried out.
While the ruling is unlikely to lead to Gaddafi’s arrest as long he remains in power and inside Libya, it was welcomed by the Libyan rebels and their NATO backers as a sign that Gaddafi had no legitimacy to rule.
Reporting by Nick Carey and Joseph Nasr; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Peter Graff