ICC issues Qaddafi warrant: Key prosecutions of world leaders

The International Criminal Court issued international arrest warrants today for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, and intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, charging them with crimes against humanity in the early weeks of Libya's uprising. It is only the second-ever international arrest warrant for a sitting head of state and the inquiry that preceded it was one of only a handful into crimes committed by world leaders. Below, a look at prosecution of current and past world leaders:

Robert Vos/AP
Judges Sylvia Steiner, Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, and Cuno Tarfusser, back row, from left, are seen in the courtroom in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday June 27. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, his son and his intelligence chief for crimes against humanity in the early days of their struggle to cling to power.

Muammar Qaddafi, Libya

The ICC judge presiding over the Libya case said today that there were "reasonable grounds" to hold Mr. Qaddafi, his son, and his intelligence chief responsible for "killing, injuring, and imprisoning hundreds of civilians" between Feb. 18 and Feb. 28, The New York Times reported. According to the court, Qaddafi introduced a policy "aimed at deterring and quelling by any means, including by the use of force, the demonstrations of civilians against the regime," BBC News reports.

However, Qaddafi could remain free indefinitely – Libya does not recognize the ICC's jurisdiction and therefore doesn't have to comply with the court's orders. To be arrested, he would have to travel to one of the 115 countries that does recognize the court or the Libyan rebels would have to capture him and release him to one of those countries. Another option – albeit unlikely – is to revise NATO's mission in Libya to include the capture of the three men, the Times reports.

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