THE HAGUE // International judges have unsealed an arrest warrant for Libya’s former security chief, accusing him of carrying out war crimes in 2011 to quash opposition to the late dictator, Muammar Qaddafi.
The warrant, which was first issued in 2013 by the International Criminal Court (ICC), charges Al Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled with three charges of war crimes and four crimes against humanity.
The unsealing of the warrant, which took place on Monday, comes as the ICC is still in a legal tug-of-war with Libyan authorities to transfer Qaddafi’s jailed son, Seif Al Islam, to the tribunal in The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity.
The warrant against Khaled says that between February and August 2011, the military, intelligence and security agencies carried out attacks on the civilian population “in furtherance of a policy designed by the Libyan state to quash the political opposition to the Qaddafi regime by any means”.
That included “lethal force and by arresting, detaining, torturing and abusing perceived political opponents”.
Prisoners across Libya “were subjected to various forms of mistreatment, including severe beatings, electrocution, acts of sexual violence and rape, solitary confinement” and mock executions.
As head of Libya’s internal security agency from February to August 2011, Khaled “had the authority to implement Qaddafi’s orders”, the warrant adds.
The prosecutor’s office asked for the warrant to be made public as it “may facilitate [Khaled’s] arrest and surrender as all states will then be aware of its existence”, the court said.
Born in the Janzour area of Libya, west of Tripoli, in 1942, Khaled was known by several aliases, and had “at least 10 different passports, some issued under other identities”, the warrant says.
According to Libyan media, he was arrested in Cairo in April 2012, but was released again as there was no warrant against him. Since then he is believed to have dropped out of sight.
The warrant appeals to the authorities in Egypt to co-operate with the court’s request for his arrest and surrender.
Although Libya is not a party to the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC, the United Nations Security Council unanimously mandated the tribunal to investigate abuses in the country in February 2011.
Libya was then still under the rule of longtime leader Qaddafi, who was killed months later by rebels in a Nato-backed uprising.
An arrest warrant for alleged crimes against humanity issued in June 2011 is still outstanding for Seif Al Islam, who is said to be behind bars in Zintan, a town south-west of Tripoli that opposes the UN-backed government based in the capital.
* Agence France-Presse