Libya intends to persecute NATO in international courts for the Western military alliance’s attempts to physically eliminate country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi and members of his family, the Libyan Justice Ministry said in a statement.
The statement comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued on Monday an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, accusing him of torturing and killing opponents of his regime.
“The so-called International Criminal Court is only a cover for operations of NATO, which repeatedly tried to physically eliminate the leader of the Revolution [Gaddafi] and his family members,” the statement said.
The ministry added that such actions of NATO are “war crimes,” which must be persecuted in international criminal courts.
The warrants issued by the Hague-based court on Monday also cover Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi.
A statement, read out by presiding judge Sanji Monageng, said the ICC had “reasonable grounds to believe” that the three men ordered murders and persecution of civilians.
Gaddafi, who as “the recognized and undisputed leader of Libya had absolute, ultimate and unquestioned control” over the state, designed a state policy “aimed at deterring and quelling, by any means, including by the use of lethal force, the demonstrations of civilians against the regime,” the Pre-Trial Chamber I said.
Saif al-Islam is “the most influential person” within Gaddafi’s inner circle, the warrant says, although he holds no official position.
Thousands of people have died in the five-months-old conflict, and more than 650,000 people have been displaced.
A NATO-led operation to protect Libyan civilians entered its 100th day on Monday.