WASHINGTON, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Monday that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has spoken about the need for "justice and accountability" by issuing an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi, repeating its demand that the Libyan leader cede power.
"Our view is that the actions of the security forces and the Gaddafi regime that are highlighted in the court's decision underscore the gravity of what we have been witnessing and what the coalition has been trying to prevent in Libya," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a news briefing at the department.
"And in the face of these crimes of this kind of magnitude and this gravity, the need for justice and accountability is absolutely clear," she added.
The Hague-based ICC issued arrest warrants on Monday for Gaddafi as well as his son Saif al-Islam and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, Libya's head of intelligence, on charges of crimes against humanity. ICC prosecutors allege that they were involved in the killing of protesters when anti-government protests broke out in the North African state in February against Gaddafi's 41-year rule.
"The U.S. believes that the decision to refer the case to the ICC was the right decision, that the ICC has spoken now about the need for justice and accountability," Nuland said.
"With regard to whether this hurts or helps, it doesn't change the fact that Gaddafi's got to take the message that it's time to go," she added.
White House spokesman Jay Carney called the court's move another indication that Gaddafi "has lost his legitimacy," saying "It is another step in this process of holding him accountable."
The ICC's move came as the NATO-led air bombing on Libyan government targets entered its 100th day. Lynn Pascoe, UN under secretary-general for political affairs, told the UN Security Council on Monday that with NATO's air cover, Libyan opposition forces have a "halting" upper hand now in their fight against Gaddafi forces.