ICC knows where 3 Libyan fugitives are and urges arrests
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor called Wednesday for the immediate arrest of longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son and two others accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, saying their whereabouts are known.
Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council the ICC is also continuing to investigate other alleged perpetrators of grave international crimes, and is assessing “the viability of bringing cases before the ICC in relation to migrant-related crimes in Libya.”
She said her office has reliable information that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the late dictator’s son, is believed to be in the Libyan town of Zintan, that Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the self-styled Libyan National Army is in the Benghazi area in eastern Libya, and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, former head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency, is in Cairo.
A civil war in Libya in 2011 toppled Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. In the chaos that followed, the country was divided, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the so-called Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.
Hifter launched a surprise military offensive April 4 aimed at capturing Tripoli despite commitments to attend a national conference weeks later aimed at forming a united government and moving toward elections in the oil-rich North African country.
An array of militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government has been fending off the push by Hifter’s forces to take the capital.
Bensouda called on Libyan authorities to surrender Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, saying they are required to arrest and surrender him to the ICC despite his appeal of the admissibility of his case. A hearing on his appeal is scheduled on Nov. 11-12.
The ICC prosecutor also demanded that the Egyptian government surrender Khaled, and that Hifter hand over al-Werfalli, whom he recently promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in the Libyan National Army.
“The three ICC fugitives stand accused of grave international crimes,” Bensouda said. “These crimes include the war crimes of murder, torture, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity, and the crimes against humanity of persecution, imprisonment, torture and other inhumane acts.”
While the power to arrest and surrender ICC suspects rests with governments, the prosecutor said her office “is working to increase opportunities for outstanding arrest warrants to be executed.”
Bensouda said that in coordination with states, her office is developing “enhanced strategies and methodologies to track and arrest suspects.” She did not elaborate.
Bensouda said she is “deeply alarmed” at the grave situation in Libya and reports indicating that since Hifter launched his offensive in early April more than 100 civilians have been killed, 300 injured and 120,000 displaced.
“My team continues to examine allegations against all parties to the conflict to assess whether they bear criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute” which established the ICC, she said.
Bensouda stressed that she “will not hesitate” to pursue arrest warrants against those most responsible for alleged crimes.
As for alleged crimes against migrants in Libya, the prosecutor said her team “continues to collect and analyze documentary, digital and testimonial evidence relating to alleged crimes committed in detention centers.”
The ICC is assessing “the viability” of pursuing such cases “based on this evidence-driven process,” Bensouda said.
Bensouda said her office is also actively assisting other countries that are investigating and prosecuting individuals who allegedly have committed crimes against migrants in Libya.
The prosecutor said she was pleased to inform the council that this cooperation “has borne fruit” and facilitated progress in a number of investigations and prosecutions relating to crimes against migrants.