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NATO could arrest Assad in Syria: Ex-ICC prosecutor

International Criminal Court's former prosecutor suggests issuing arrest warrant for embattled Syrian president to pressure him into negotiations

AFP , Saturday 10 Nov 2012
Syria
A member of the Free Syrian Army stands over a Syrian flag with the picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at a checkpoint in Aleppo, November 1, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court's former prosecutor, said Friday that world leaders had a "good case" for asking NATO to prepare a warrant to arrest Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine lawyer who was the ICC's first prosecutor, said given "it was absolutely clear" that as Syria's commander-in-chief Assad's forces had killed civilians, NATO could execute such a warrant.

He told Canadian broadcaster CBC such a warrant, carried out by both international and Syrian forces, was "one possible solution to the problem" of Assad, but the world community must first reach a consensus on Syria.

"We can have a new, more innovative approach, combining justice and a real effort to implement the warrant and then [have] negotiations at the same time," Moreno-Ocampo told CBC, as long as Assad had the presumption of innocence.

Such a move would force Assad to negotiate, the former judge said, and possibly achieve a breakthrough in the near 20-month uprising, but he noted that the shadow of "regime change" hung over world leaders, noting that the protection of civilians was the official reason for NATO intervention in Libya.

In the end, however, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power following international military action.

Moreno-Ocampo, who left the ICC earlier this year, said he was not in favour of military action in Syria, noting it "was not a good idea."

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