Australia PM calls for Gaddafi to face international court

Australia called on Monday for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down and face an international court for human rights crimes as his 41-year regime neared collapse.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was clear rebel forces were finally about to take control of the country as Libyans took to the streets of the capital to celebrate the end of Gaddafi’s iron-fisted rule.

“We continue to call on Colonel Gaddafi to get out of the way and of course we believe he should face the international charges that are against him,” Gillard told reporters at parliament in Canberra.

“We will as a nation continue to support the people of Libya on what we want to see as a journey to peace and democracy,” she said.

Australia, a close US ally, was one of the leading voices for a no-fly zone over Libya.

The International Criminal Court in the Hague issued an arrest warrant in June for Gaddafi, citing crimes against humanity after his government put down protests by killing civilians.

Warrants were also issued for Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, with all three accused by the court of masterminding the campaign to subdue the fledgling rebellion.