CBS News is reporting that the International Criminal Court on Monday issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al Islam Qaddafi and Libya's head of intelligence, Abdullah Al-Senussi, who is Qaddafi's brother-in-law, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The warrants name Qaddafi for the commission of two categories of crimes against humanity: murder under Article 7(1)(a) of the Rome Statute, and persecution of crimes against humanity under Article 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute.
The court's move comes on the 101st day of aerial bombardment by NATO warplanes and helicopters of "command and control" sites belonging to Qaddafi's regime — a limited military campaign that has enabled the nation's rebel movement to hold their ground but advance very little on the regime's strongholds.
The ruling was made by three pretrial judges based on a lengthy request by the court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, submitted to the court in mid-May.
The ICC does not have enforcement power, but the court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, has already requested that Libyan authorities arrest those who are indicted, even though Libya is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, which establishes the court's jurisdiction.
Or, if Qaddafi travels to any of the 116 nations that are members of the court — including the latest nation, Libya's neighbor, Tunisia (which last week sent in its documents of accession, and whose membership will take effect in September) — they are obliged, under the statute, to arrest him and turn him over to the court.
This will put Qaddafi's allies in Uganda or Venezuela — both members of the court — in a difficult position if he decides to seek refuge. The court can also ask nonstate parties to arrest him.
We're surprised it took this long for the ICC to issue the warrants. Do we really need a trial to establish that Qaddafi and his family committed war crimes and crimes against humanity? We're wondering why what Qaddafi and his family are doing and have been doing wasn't an issue before the pro-democracy movement. We're still also wondering why the United States is in Libya, considering that we have more pressing issues at home, like the economy, particularly joblessness.
Read more at CBS News.
In other news: The Root Recommends: 'Thug Life.'