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ICC to probe possible crimes against humanity in Libya

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2011-03-02

Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo (pictured) of the International Criminal Court will announce a formal probe Thursday into individuals suspected of possible crimes against humanity in Libya during a violent crackdown on anti-government protests.

AFP - The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Thursday will name individuals to be targeted in a full-scale probe of alleged crimes committed in Libya, his office announced.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo will announce "the opening of an investigation in Libya" at a press conference in The Hague on Thursday and present "preliminary information as to the entities and persons who could be prosecuted", it added.

The prosecutor will "put them on notice to avoid future crimes" and would also present an overview of the alleged crimes committed in Libya since an anti-government rebellion started on February 15, the statement noted.

Hundreds of people have been killed in a violent crackdown on the uprising and tens of thousands are fleeing the country, causing a humanitarian emergency.

On Monday, Ocampo said he was doing a preliminary assessment following the UN Security Council's referral of the Libyan crisis to the ICC, to establish whether there were reasonable grounds for a full probe.

The council had said "the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity", which fall under the ICC's mandate to prosecute.

"Following a preliminary examination of available information, the prosecutor has reached the conclusion that an investigation is warranted," the prosecution statement said.

Ocampo on Monday cited information that forces loyal to Kadhafi were attacking civilians.

"If people were in a square and were attacked by tanks, planes and soldiers, and if people were killed in a systematic way, this was a crime against humanity," he said at the time, promising to move "swiftly and impartially".

The office of the prosecutor was liaising with the UN, the African Union, the Arab League and individual states in the investigation.

"Additionally, the prosecutor will also request information from other sources including from Interpol who will provide assistance," the statement added.

The next step would be for Ocampo to present his case to ICC judges, "who will then decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants based on the evidence."

The ICC is the world's only independent, permanent tribunal with the jurisdiction to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
 

Date created : 2011-03-02

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