The court order raised pressure on the Gaddafi regime, but it also gives him less incentive to accept a peaceful settlement that would see him leave power because of the threat of arrest.
The court in The Hague lacks police powers and the force most likely to arrest Gaddafi appears to be the rebels battling to oust him.
Warrants were also issued for Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, and for Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi. All three men were accused of orchestrating the killing, injuring, arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of civilians during the first 12 days of an uprising and for trying to cover up the alleged crimes.
Gaddafi's regime dismissed the charges as politically motivated.
By contrast, Benghazi resident Mohammed al-Nazeif, 35, said it was the happiest day in his life.
"We want Gaddafi to be tried in Libya in front of everyone," he said.
Suu Kyi actress kicked out
Officials in Burma said the military-backed government has deported actress Michelle Yeoh, who stars as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film.
A government official said today that the Malaysian actress was deported as she was on a government blacklist.
Japan tracks nuclear fears
Radiation meters will be distributed to about 34,000 children living near the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant to monitor their exposure levels.
The decision comes amid growing concern over the safety of children as the nuclear crisis drags on.
The dosimeters will be distributed to children aged between four and 15 in Fukushima city, which has recorded relatively high radiation levels since the March disaster.
Lagarde set for IMF chief job
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is expected to be chosen as early as today to be the new leader of the International Monetary Fund.
She would be the first woman to lead the organisation, replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after being charged with sexual assault.
Thousands flee wildfire
Thousands of residents fled from the town that is home to the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, ahead of an approaching wildfire that sparked a blaze where scientists had conducted underground radioactive tests.
Officials said no contamination was released.
China tourists begin historic Taiwan trip
Taiwan: The first individual Chinese tourists have begun arriving in Taiwan amid steadily warming ties between the nations. Dozens arrived today, underscoring Taiwanese efforts to forge closer China relations.
Brazil: A state judge approved what the court said is the nation's first gay marriage.
Sao Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto ruled two men could convert their civil union into a full marriage