Qaddafi May Be Charged With Systematic Rape, Prosecutor Says

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he’s gathering evidence that may lead to charging Libya leader Muammar Qaddafi with ordering the systematic rape of women considered enemies of his regime.

“This is new,” Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters today at the United Nations in New York. “We are getting information that Qaddafi himself decided to rape. This was never a pattern he used to control the population.”

Moreno-Ocampo said he would likely request that rape be added to the charges included in the arrest warrant he presented to the Hague-based court’s pre-trial chamber on May 16. He said he would wait to file the additional charge until the judges rule on his call for the arrest of Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, and Abdullah el-Sanussi, a Libyan security official.

Months of clashes between Qaddafi’s troops and opposition forces in Libya have killed thousands of people and helped push up oil prices.

Moreno-Ocampo said he has evidence of “widespread” rapes numbering more than 100 in at least one area, and of the government distributing drugs that enhance sexual performance.

He said the charge of rape wasn’t included in his initial arrest warrant because of a lack of evidence tracing the policy to Qaddafi.

“He decided to punish using rapes, which in the Libya tradition is really something very bad, beyond the limits,” Moreno-Ocampo said.

Moreno-Ocampo was authorized by the UN Security Council to carry out the investigation in a resolution adopted unanimously on Feb. 26.