Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi
Source: Press TV
The Libyan regime has rejected arrest warrants issued for embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Libya ... does not accept the decisions of the ICC which is a tool of the Western world to prosecute leaders in the Third World," Reuters quoted Libyan Justice Minister Mohammed al-Qamoodi as saying during a Monday press conference in the capital Tripoli .
Qamoodi denied the existence of connections between Gaddafi and his son with the ICC warrants by arguing that the two held no “official position in the Libyan government.”
Instead, the Libyan regime has urged the ICC to prosecute NATO for its crimes committed in the North African country.
On Monday, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi on charges of committing crimes against humanity since the Libyan revolution began in mid-February.
The warrants came as a response to ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's call on the court to issue the arrest warrants.
This is the first time the international court has issued arrest warrants during an on-going conflict and the second time it has issued one against a president in office.
NATO launched a major air campaign against the forces of the Libyan regime in mid-March, saying UN Security Council Resolution 1973 gave them a mandate to “protect the Libyan population.”
However, the Western coalition airstrikes have so far claimed the lives of scores of civilians.