Libyan rebels in the rebel-held capital of Benghazi open fire as they celebrate after receiving the news of an arrest warrant issued against Moammar Gadhafi. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son and his intelligence chief for crimes against humanity in the early days of their struggle to cling to power.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
NPR's Corey Flintoff has the story from Tripoli.
COREY FLINTOFF: The presiding judge of a three-member ICC panel read out the decision.
SANJI MMASENONO MONAGENG: In Benghazi, Misrata, Tripoli and other neighboring cities...
FLINTOFF: Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, of Botswana, said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Gadhafi; his son, Seif al-Islam; and Libyan intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Sanoussi, had orchestrated the killings of protesters at the start of the uprising in February. She said the arrests of the men appeared necessary.
MMASENONO MONAGENG: ...to, one, ensure their appearance before the court. Two, ensure that they do not continue to use their power to obstruct or endanger the investigation in particular by orchestrating the cover-up of the crimes committed by the security forces.
FLINTOFF: Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the International Court has no legal authority.
MOUSSA IBRAHIM: The ICC has no legitimacy whatsoever. We'll deal with it. We'll deal with it. But we know that it has nothing to do, but all of its activities are directed at African leaders. It has never questioned any genuine European leader, of course, apart from the Serb case. The NATO has been committing crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, in Iraq and Libya now. They have never even considered investigating the killing of many civilians in Iraq, many civilians in Afghanistan, many civilians in Libya.
FLINTOFF: But Richard Dicker, the director of the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, said Gadhafi has shown that he has no intention of leaving.
RICHARD DICKER: Moammar Gadhafi, who has gripped power for 40 years, has made clear his determination to hang on to it, and it defies belief, as some would suggest, that this arrest warrant will be an obstacle to any kind of negotiated settlement for the crisis in Libya.
FLINTOFF: But Dicker says the international court needs to show its impartiality.