An international arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi is expected soon.
City Press has reliably learnt that a pre-trial hearing by three judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to be held in The Hague, Netherlands, “within weeks” to approve the international arrest warrant for him.
“While the prosecutor has not called on Nato forces to execute the warrant and bring Gaddafi to The Hague, this might well change,” an informed Western diplomatic source said.
A Johannesburg legal firm, with close ties to the ANC, will defend Gaddafi should he be charged.
Themba Langa, senior partner at Langa Attorneys this week confirmed media reports that his firm met with Gaddafi three weeks ago and agreed to represent him in court.
The war crimes case against Gaddafi has been given major impetus despite efforts by President Jacob Zuma and the African Union (AU) to bring an end to international military action against his regime.
Following the court’s investigation into human rights abuses in Libya and the resulting call by its chief prosecutor for an international arrest warrant for Gaddafi, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has added further damning evidence against him.
A report by the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry published this week found that to date between 10 000 and 15 000 people have been killed and thousands more injured or missing in the civil war that erupted in February.
While the report also accuses Libyan rebels of war crimes, the bulk of the charges are against Gaddafi.
UN investigators who visited Libya in April found evidence of war crimes ranging from excessive use of force against demonstrators and torture and denial of access to medical treatment to deliberate attacks on civilians, the use of prohibited weapons, the use of children and African mercenaries as soldiers, and rape.
Gaddafi is held directly liable for the bulk of the crimes.
“These violations and crimes have been committed in large part by the government in accordance with the command-and-control system established by Colonel Gaddafi through the different military, paramilitary, security and popular forces that he has employed in the pursuit of a systematic and widespread policy of repression against opponents to his regime and his leadership,” the report says.
Meanwhile, instead of heeding Zuma and AU calls for a “pause” in the bombing of Gaddafi-held installations, Nato wants to step up its aerial attacks, extend its involvement by a further 90 days “to increase pressure on the regime”. – Africa Desk