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Gaddafi becomes world’s most wanted
LONDON, JUNE 27 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 28 Jun. 2011 1:39 AM IST
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An arrest warrant is out for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son and intelligence chief for crimes against humanity from the International Criminal Court.
Judges in The Hague announced that Gaddafi is wanted for orchestrating the killing, torture and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians in his own country.
The warrants make the Libyan dictator, his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi internationally-wanted suspects.
Presiding judge Sanji Monageng of Botswana said there were ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that Gaddafi and his son are both ‘criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators’.
Libyan officials rejected the court’s authority before the decision was read out, claiming it unfairly targeted them while ignoring what they called crimes committed by Nato in Afghanistan, Iraq ‘and now in Libya’.
A spokesman for the Libyan government said: ‘The ICC has no legitimacy whatsoever. We will deal with it. All of its activities are directed at African leaders.’
Gaddafi says he has no intention of relinquishing his grip on power. He has said the rebels are criminals and al Qaeda militants, and has called the Nato bombing campaign an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libya’s oil.
Rebel forces trying to overthrow Gaddafi are now just 50 miles from the capital Tripoli, a spokesman told Reuters.
The rebels, based in the mountainous region south-west of Tripoli, are fighting pro-Gaddafi forces for control of the town of Bir al-Ghanem.
A rebel leader said: ‘There were battles there most of yesterday. Some of our fighters were martyred and they (government forces) also suffered casualties and we captured equipment and vehicles. It’s quiet there today and the rebels are still in their positions.’
Two explosions were also reported on Sunday and smoke could be seen rising from the direction of Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound.
The rebels - backed by Nato air strikes - have been battling Gaddafi’s forces since February, when thousands of people rose up against his 41-year-rule.
It prompted a fierce crackdown by Gaddafi’s security forces. The revolt has turned into the bloodiest of the Arab Spring uprisings sweeping the Middle East.
For weeks now, rebels in their strong-hold in the east have been unable to make significant advances, while Nato air strikes have failed to dislodge Gaddafi, straining the Western alliance.
Analysts say if rebels outside the capital gain momentum, it could inspire anti-Gaddafi groups inside the capital to rise up - which many believe is the most effective way of forcing him out.

 
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