The Hague court has also issued arrest warrants for two other figures – Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi. Thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the conflict. Ahead of the Court’s decision, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said he has evidence linking Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi to crimes against humanity in their attempt to put down a months-long revolt.
Libya did not sign the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court and has indicated it would ignore the prosecution move.
Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim has previously denied the allegations and criticized what he said were incoherent conclusions of the prosecutor’s office.
Moreno-Ocampo has scheduled a press conference today to discuss the court’s decision. Meanwhile, fighting between forces loyal to Gadhafi and the opposition raged Monday just 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Tripoli in a see-saw battle that has brought the rebels to the doorstep of the Libyan leader’s stronghold, CNN informs.
The fighting came the same day that judges at the International Criminal Court were to decide whether to issue warrants for the arrest of Gadhafi, marking the first time the judicial body has taken action while a conflict was ongoing. Casualty reports were not immediately available in the battle near the town of B’ir al Ghanam, though the majority of the fighting by both sides was being waged with heavy artillery, according to journalist David Adams, who witnessed much of it on Sunday.
NATO warplanes struck a rocket launcher system mounted on a government truck near the town, Adams said. Three explosions were heard in the Libyan capital late Monday morning. “They appear closer than those heard in the past few days and week,” said CNN producer Raja Razek, who is in Tripoli. The International Criminal Court action follows a day after the African Union announced Gadhafi will not be part of its next attempt to map out a peace deal in Libya.
It was unclear who would represent the Libyan government in negotiations, or when negotiations would occur.
Journalists were not allowed to ask questions at a news conference following Sunday’s meeting of the African Union’s special committee on Libya in Pretoria, South Africa.