Libya: Gaddafi’s Rapes and the ICC

By Prince Ofori-Atta

Posted on June 9, 2011 13:54

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has obtained incriminating evidence against Muammar Gaddafi in his bid to bring the Libyan “guide” to justice. Gaddafi is believed to have organized rape campaigns.

Evidence held by Luis Moreno-Ocampo could see new charges levelled against the embattled 68 year-old Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan “guide” is believed to have distributed Viagra-like drugs to his fighters in order to boost their urge to rape.

“Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape, and this is new,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo said. According to Moreno-Ocampo, some witnesses had confirmed that the Libyan government was procuring containers of Viagra-type drugs to carry out its rape policy. The drugs, Moreno-Ocampo says, were to “enhance the possibility to rape”.

But while Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is expecting a forthcoming decision from ICC judges on crimes against humanity against Gaddafi, argues that his office was in possession of “information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government”, Gita Saghal, former campaigner for Amnesty International, says Moreno-Ocampo’s investigations would need to prove that the acts were as a result of a chain of command in the military in order to implicate Gaddafi.

More Convinced

Hundreds of people are believed to have already suffered from rape, which is being used as “a new aspect of the repression”, in parts of Libya. And although the prosecutor’s office “had doubts at the beginning” because it was “never the pattern Gaddafi used to control the population”, they are now “more convinced” that rape was being used to punish the population. “Rape is a new form of repression,” said Moreno-Ocampo.

The rape allegations come after the ICC prosecutor last month called for an arrest warrant against Col Gaddafi, his Son Saif Al Islam, and intelligence chief Abdullah Al Sanussi, who he accuses of being “criminally responsible for the killings, arrests, detentions, disappearances and acts of ill-treatment against unarmed demonstrators and alleged dissidents.”

Gaddafi’s government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, ridiculed the charges saying Moreno-Ocampo’s call for the arrest of the three men was “incoherent”. Insisting that “it is the rebels who took up arms in the middle of our peaceful cities and caused the death of many people and invited fighters from several nationalities to join them,” Ibrahim argued that Gaddafi’s government had “never, in any stage of the crisis in Libya, ordered the killing of civilians or hired mercenaries against our people”.

Late March, Iman al-Obeidi, a Libyan woman from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, had stormed into the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, where foreign journalists had gathered, and claimed to have been gang-raped by at least 15 pro-Gaddafi militia. And although Moussa Ibrahim later confirmed that the act had indeed taken place, he also claimed that al-Obeidi was a prostitute with a criminal record. Iman al-Obeidi has dismissed Moussa Ibrahim’s claims.

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