The International Criminal Court on Monday issued a warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s arrest, its second-ever arrest warrant against a sitting head of state.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the Hague-based court for the warrant in May following approval from the UN Security Council.
The warrant also seeks the arrest of Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam and the country’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.
Presiding Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said their detention “appears necessary so they do not continue to use their power to obstruct or endanger the investigation”.
The court said it had “reasonable grounds” to believe Gaddafi and his inner circle planned and ordered attacks on civilians during Libya’s four-month uprising.
But getting hold of Gaddafi and his aides could prove problematic. The ICC has no police service to ensure that the warrant is enforced.
An arrest warrant was issued against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in 2009 but he has travelled freely through a number of African countries since then.