FIDH welcomes request for arrest warrants for Muammar Gadhafi, Saif Gadhafi and Abdulah Al-Sanousi

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomes the announcement made today by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the request for arrest warrants for Muammar Gadhafi, Saif El Islam Gadhafi and Abdulah Al-Sanousi. FIDH urges the ICC relevant Chamber to make a decision on the Prosecutor’s application without delay. FIDH also calls upon all States to prepare for immediate execution of the arrest warrants once issued.

“The application filed today confirms that very serious crimes have been committed in Libya. Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadhafi, Saif El Islam Gadhafi, Col. Gadhafi second eldest son, and Abdulah Al-Sanousi, Chief of the intelligence unit, are alleged to be individually criminally responsible for crimes against humanity committed over the last three months. They must be arrested immediately so as to deter commission of further atrocities,” said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

Libya has been in turmoil since mid-February when the regime of Col. Kadhafi started launching massive attacks against protesters and other civilians. FIDH’s member organisation from Libya, the Libyan League Human Rights, has documented an extensive number of crimes committed against the civilian population, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. The suspects are accused of attacking unarmed civilians, shooting demonstrators and arresting, torturing and disappearing political opponents as a result of a common plan established by all three of them. The ICC Prosecutor believes Col. Gadhafi has abused his authority under Libyan law to commit atrocities.

FIDH notes with satisfaction that the pace of the ICC investigation with respect to crimes in Libya has been remarkably quick. For the first time since its creation, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor has prepared an application for arrest warrants in slightly over two months. The request will now be considered by a Pre-Trial Chamber composed of three judges. FIDH urges the Pre-Trial Chamber to make a decision on the Prosecutor’s filing without delay, considering that arresting the suspect could have a significant impact to deter further crimes.

During a briefing by the ICC Prosecutor at the United Nations Security Council, held on 4 May 2011, all Security Council members reaffirmed their support for the ICC investigation and commended the Prosecutor’s swift action in Libya. If and once arrest warrants are issued, all States, including Libya, must take steps to execute them.

The Prosecutor has indicated that investigations will continue and that other persons, including other parties to the conflict, could be targeted by future arrest warrants. FIDH calls upon the Prosecutor to carry on his investigations without delay.


The situation in Libya was referred to the Security Council on 26 February 2011, following Resolution 1970 which was adopted unanimously. The ICC Office of the Prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation on 3 March 2011. At the time, the Prosecutor referred to the responsibility of Muammar Gadhafi and warned him and others that they could be held to account before the ICC. On 4 May 2011, the Prosecutor briefed the UN Security Council on the progress of his investigation and indicated that he would be lodging an application for arrest warrants soon after the briefing.

The ICC has no police force. States Parties and UN members, including Libya, will be responsible for the execution of arrest warrants for the three suspects, once issued.

For more information, see the FIDH "Questions & Answers" on Libya and the ICC.

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