ROME, June 28 (UPI) -- There is reason to believe the international case against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is based on a need for oil, his lawyers contend.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Gadhafi and members of his inner circle for crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population beginning in February.
Gadhafi's lawyers in a response to the ICC arrest warrant said the measure was taken because the international community needs access to Libya's oil reserves.
"We have good reasons to believe that the case against our client is found on the desperation to have access to the rich oil resources and not any legal ground as NATO should account on the destruction of Libyan infrastructure, killing of innocent civilians, women and children as well as the deprivation of access to basic necessities, including baby food," the lawyers said.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries during their June regular meeting in Vienna kept 2008 production quotas in place despite warnings about the economic consequences of a tight energy market. The International Energy Agency responded last week by calling for an emergency release of oil stocks in an effort to counter lingering shortages of production from Libya.
About 1.2 million barrels of Libyan crude arrived June 8 in Hawaii. This was the first confirmed cargo purchased from the rebel-backed Transitional National Council, the U.S. State Department said.
Before conflict erupted early this year Libya was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day, with most of that designated for European markets.