Muammar Qaddafi is “not a target” for NATO, an alliance military spokesman said Tuesday as fighting between rebels and pro-regime forces raged around his main compound in the city.
“NATO does not target individuals,” said Operation Unified Protector spokesman, Colonel Roland Lavoie. “He is not the target,” he told reporters in Brussels via video-conference from the mission’s Naples headquarters.
“Of course we do target command and control facilities,” he then added. “If Qaddafi is located in a command and control facility, these are legitimate targets and we will strike” when acting to erode his regime’s military capacity.
The Qaddafi family’s influence is waning fast, chief NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said in any case.
Asked about a heavily-broadcast appearance in Tripoli free from chains, despite the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor in The Hague having backed up rebel claims that they had arrested Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam, Lungescu said the family was “on the run.”
“A brief appearance in the dead of night doesn’t indicate to me someone who is in control of a capital,” she said.
“It shows the remnants of the regime are on the run.
“It will be up to the Libyan people to decide their fate.
“As we’ve seen in the Balkans... they may be on the run for some time, but they can’t hide,” she said, in reference to captured war criminals from the wars in ex-Yugoslavia.
Eighteen years after its creation, the last of 161 suspects wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) came before the court last month.