Libya rejects arrest warrant, calls court a European tool
Libya on Tuesday blasted the International Criminal Court decision Monday seeking arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, his son and Tripoli's intelligence chief, DPA reported.
The Foreign Ministry said the ICC decision against Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, for alleged crimes against humanity had been expected.
The decision came as no surprise, said ministry said, because the court in The Hague is a "tool for European foreign policy."
Foreign Ministry official Khaled Kaeem said Libya does not recognise the ICC, instead affirming that Libyan courts will deal with human rights abuses and other crimes committed during the fighting in Libya.
"That the International Criminal Court has any jurisdiction or judicial independence from international pressure is not up for debate, but simply false," said Kaeem in a statement to reporters in Tripoli. "The court has become a mirror of the US prosecution of Guantanamo."
Libyan Justice Minister Mohamed al-Gamudi told reporters in Tripoli the ICC ruling is a "cover for NATO which is still trying to assassinate Gaddafi." He vowed that Libya would sue NATO for its attacks on Libya.
The ongoing conflict in Libya, which erupted mid-February, has claimed over 12,000 lives, according to the opposition, which celebrated on Monday the ICC decision in the streets of Benghazi and Misurata, the country's second and third largest cities now controlled by rebels.
The Libyan leader continues to reject growing international isolation of his 42-year-long regime, setting up checkpoints in Tripoli to ward off the advance of rebel fighters.
Meanwhile opposition fighters were said to be making slow but tangible gains in their bid to move towards the capital Tripoli.
A Tripoli resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he could hear shooting overnight in the capital near the checkpoints.