The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court (ICC) is likely to add rape to the war crimes charges against Muammar Gaddafi on the back of mounting evidence that sexual attacks on women are being used as a weapon in the Libyan conflict.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says there is evidence Gaddafi ordered the violations as a form of punishment. He told reporters at the UN in New York last night there were strong indications that hundreds of women had been raped in the Libyan government clampdown on the popular uprising.
The prosecutor said there was evidence that the government had been handing out doses of Viagra to soldiers to encourage sexual attacks. Moreno-Ocampo said rape was a new tactic for the Libyan regime. “That’s why we had doubts at the beginning, but now we are more convinced.
Under the ICC’s code enslavement, forcible transfer of populations and torture as well as multiple rapes constitute a crime against humanity.
Moreno-Ocampo has already requested arrest warrants against Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the country’s spy chief, on other charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during attempts to crush the country’s rebellion.
That request is being considered by ICC judges. These allegations of mass rape adopted by the court would be added to the indictment as fresh charges.
This allegation of rape against Gaddafi has already been raised in the UN security council. In April the US ambassador, Susan Rice, said some Libyan troops had been issued with Viagra.
Moreno-Ocampo said the question until recently had been whether Gaddafi himself could be associated with the rapes “or is it something that happened in the barracks?”
“But now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided [to authorise the rapes] and this is new.
Conflict Still Rages in Libya
Today in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the shelling yesterday near Misrata showed the continued need to protect civilians. “It is an example that the Gadhafi regime still constitutes a threat to the civilian population,” he said. “We will stay committed as long as necessary,” Fogh Rasmussen added.
Life After Gadhafi
Libya’s former U.N. ambassador Abdurraham Mohamed Shalgham attended the Dubai gathering as a senior official of the rebels’ National Council. He said NATO should focus more strikes on Gadhafi forces around Misrata to help “the youth freedom fighters to move toward the capital Tripoli.” Shalgham said he believed Gadhafi was in the final days of his rule.