Could Moammar Gadhafi be done in by a paper trail? The Observer thinks so. The newspaper was given the exclusive opportunity to read some of the files obtained by Misratan lawyers and hidden in the city. The thousands of documents contain orders from Gadhafi, and spell out his instructions to torture and arrest rebels, writes Chris Stephen. The lawyers say these files, which they obtained from army bases and police stations after taking over the city, will go far in proving the International Criminal Court's charge that Gadhafi committed war crimes and crimes against humanity (though the Observer notes Misrata wasn't included in the list of crimes in the first indictment; it's expected to be included in a second indictment).
This is major, writes Stephen. "To put it into perspective, consider that no significant international war crimes trial has ever found written instructions proving that atrocities were actually ordered." Stephen shares one example: A March 4 letter from the general Gadhafi put in charge of dealing with Misrata that reads, "It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel, and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints." Stephen translates: "To put it more bluntly, he ordered his army to inflict starvation on every man, woman, and child in Misrata."