Libya has “an obligation” to arrest Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the world crimes court’s prosecutor’s office said Wednesday, after suggestions that the Libyan autocrat might be allowed to stay if he quits power.
“This is a legal issue,” prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s office said in a statement in The Hague, where the world crimes court is based.
“Libya is not a state party to the (court’s founding treaty) Rome Statute but it is a member of the United Nations. Therefore, according to Resolution 1970, the Libyan government has an obligation to implement the arrest warrants,” the statement said.
“Any future government will have the same obligation,” it added.
ICC judges on June 27 issued arrest warrants for the embattled Libyan leader, his son Seif Al Islam, 39, and Libyan spymaster Abdullah Al Senussi, 62, for crimes against humanity, committed since a bloody uprising started against Colonel Qaddafi’s regime in mid-February.
With a bombing campaign dragging on, Britain and France have indicated it was up to Libyans to decide whether Colonel Qaddafi stayed in the country, but it has been suggested he might stay on if he quits power, despite demands that he faces international justice for atrocities committed to put down the revolt.
Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council chief Wednesday said in Benghazi that a deadline for Colonel Qaddafi to step down and stay in the country has expired as the warring parties remain at daggers drawn on ways to end the conflict.
“We made a proposal. The deadline has passed. The proposal has expired. The period of this proposal has passed,” said Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jamil.
“Negotiations have to respect UN Security Council Resolution 1970 to do justice in Libya as well as the Court’s decision.” the statement from the ICC prosecutor’s office added.