ICC Orders Arrest of Gadhafi, Son, Key Aide

The international  criminal court ordered the arrest of Moammar Gadhafi on Monday for allegedly murdering Libyan civilians who rose up against him, as NATO warplanes bombarded his Tripoli compound and world leaders raised up voice for the Libyan leader to resign.

The International Criminal Court said Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and his intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi are wanted for allegedly orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first 12 days of an uprising to remove Gadhafi from power, and for trying to cover this up.

The warrants from ICC turn the three men into internationally wanted suspects, potentially complicating efforts to mediate an end to more than four months of intense fighting in the North African nation. The warrants will be sent to Libya.

Following popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Gadhafi and his inner circle plotted a “state policy … aimed at deterring ¬†by any means, demonstrations by civilians against the regime.”

Prosecutors said the three suspects should be arrested quickly “to prevent them covering up ongoing crimes and committing new crimes.”

NATO air forces have been conducting daily air strikes against military targets in Libya for the past 100 days — a bombing campaign that has drawn increasing international criticism.

A coalition including France, Britain and the United States began striking Gadhafi’s forces under a United Nations resolution to protect civilians on March 19. NATO assumed control of the air campaign over Libya on March 31 and is joined by a number of Arab allies.

European nations praised the warrants.

“Gadhafi is now a fugitive from international justice,” British Prime Minister David Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons. “The pressure and the time is telling on Gadhafi, and we will not let up until the job is done.”

In Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said “after 41 years of dictatorship, it is perhaps time to stop, for him to leave power.”

Report by BIKRAM SINGH RANA