The Paperwork of a Man at War
June 25, 2011 - New Zealand Herald:
The dark green box files are packed in rows that stretch up to the ceiling - as dull as dull could be. But the papers hidden inside them will sink Muammar Gaddafi.
In these boxes, hidden at a secure location in the besieged rebel city of Misrata, lie thousands of documents containing the orders given by the Libyan leader and transmitted by his generals to unleash the torture, arrest and bombardment that have torn the country apart. For war crimes prosecutors, they are pure gold.
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has already filed indictments against Gaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Observer was granted exclusive access to view some of the files and found the paperwork astonishing. On the top of one file is a letter from March 4, two weeks after Misrata rose up, signed by the general in charge of quelling the protest: Youssef Ahmed Basheer Abu Hajar. It tells its “fighting formations”: “It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints.”
Or, to put it more bluntly, Gaddafi ordered his army to inflict starvation on the citizens of Misrata.