Libya: Gaddafi Contemplates Surrender

Embattled Libyan leader toys with the idea of quietly throwing in the towel from his hideout.

By Eric Sande

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is working out plans to leave office from his hiding place in Tripoli and pave a way for a gradual exit from public life, say officials.

This latest development comes as ICC arrest warrant is being prepared. Sources say the veteran autocrat’s grand plan is to retire to a godfather-like role in the nation he has ruled for more than 40 years and then allow institutions to grow that will eventually replace his hold on power.

File Photo og Muammar Gaddafi

In an earlier televised communiqué from the president, Gadhafi assured his people that he is alive and in a place where NATO bombs could not reach him.

The decision to call it quits he hopes will convince Nato to stop its two-month campaign of almost nightly air strikes, which have decimated Libya’s military and defences and reinforced a rebellion that is steadily eroding the country’s power base.

Interviews with four regime members have confirmed that Gaddafi knows his time is up. “But he isn’t going to run away to Venezuela,” one official said. “He wants to move to the background and lead a dignified life. He himself has said he wants to be like the Japanese emperor, or Castro.”

NATO air strikes have hit a number of Libyan military and command control positions in Tripoli including Mr. Gadhafi’s compound, since they started their operation. The Libyan leader reportedly escaped one recent attack that Libyan authorities say targeted him.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says he will seek arrest warrants this week for three people considered responsible for crimes against humanity in Libya.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo did not reveal the names of the suspects in his statement Friday, but the Libyan leader is expected to top the list. Those charged will face accusations of murder and persecution.

The ICC prosecutor said investigators have collected “extensive and solid evidence” after 30 missions to 11 countries, more than 50 interviews and the review of videos and photographs that show “widespread and systematic attacks” against Libya’s civilian population by the country’s security forces.

Since February, Colonel Gadhafi’s forces have carried out a brutal crackdown against anti-government demonstrators.

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