US hails ICC warrants on Gaddafi



Washington: The United States said Monday the International Criminal Court (ICC) announcement of arrest warrants for Libya's Moammer Gaddafi shows the need for justice is "absolutely" clear.

"The actions of the security forces and the Gaddafi regime that are highlighted in the court's decision underscored the gravity of what we've been witnessing," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"In the face of these crimes of this kind of magnitude and this gravity, the need for justice is absolutely clear," Nuland told reporters.

The US "believes that the decision to refer the case to the ICC was the right decision, that the ICC has spoken now about the need for justice and accountability," she added.

As to whether the court decision will help or hurt efforts to force Gaddafi to step down, she said, "it doesn't change the fact that Gaddafi has got to take the message that it's time to go."

War crimes judges issued the three warrants for Gaddafi and two of his closest allies for crimes against humanity committed against opponents of his regime, a judge at The Hague-based ICC said.

"The chamber hereby issue a warrant of arrest against Moamer Gaddafi ," Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said during a hearing.

The ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had asked for warrants for Gaddafi , 69, his son Seif al-Islam, 39, and the head of Libyan intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, 62, for murder and persecution since mid-February when a bloody uprising in Libya started.

All three are charged over their roles in suppressing the revolt, in which civilians were murdered and persecuted by Libyan forces, particularly in Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, the prosecutor said.

Bureau Report