ICC prosecutor 'almost ready' for Libya abuse trial

15th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The ICC chief prosecutor said Sunday he was 'almost ready' for a Libyan rights abuse trial, as he prepared to apply for arrest warrants with Moamer Kadhafi believed likely to head his list.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo is expected to ask International Criminal Court (ICC) judges in The Hague to issue three arrest warrants on Monday, when the names of the accused could be revealed.

Diplomats have said veteran Libyan leader Kadhafi would likely head the list.

"We are almost ready for trial," Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement. "The Office collected good and solid evidence to identify (those) who bear the greatest responsibility," he said.

The allegations are linked to a crackdown on pro-reform protests that started mid-February and has left hundreds dead.

The warrants would not be based on "political responsibilities, but rather individual criminal responsibility for crimes committed in Libya," Moreno-Ocampo said.

The Argentinian prosecutor said a five-person team from his office was finalising a 74-page document for his application to the court, which tries the most serious international crimes.

His Libya team's lawyers on Friday incorporated details from new witnesses.

"During the last week, the Office of the Prosecutor received several calls from high level officials in Kadhafi's regime willing to provide information," Moreno-Ocampo said.

More than 2,000 documents including video and pictures were reviewed in the investigation and more than 50 interviews conducted or individuals screened to be interviewed.

The probe took the prosecutor's office on 30 missions to 11 states, but its spokeswoman Florence Olara said last week Libya itself was not visited.

"We did not go to Libya because we did not want to put any witnesses at risk in Libya," she told AFP.

The speed at which the investigation was concluded, since its launch was announced on March 3, was due to consensus by countries in the UN Security Council, Moreno-Ocampo said.

During a May 4 briefing "all the members of the Council expressed the importance of justice for this case," including France and Britain who spearheaded the effort.

"Remarkably, India, Russia, China, Lebanon and the US, who are non-States Parties, reiterated this support," he said.

"The Security Council was unanimous in its decision to refer the case to the ICC. The Arab League and African Union also fully supported the need to investigate crimes committed in Libya," he said.

Moreno-Ocampo's request for the arrest warrants is due as the revolt against Libya's regime enters its fourth month with the head of Britain's armed forces urging NATO Sunday to widen its bombing campaign and the UN's special envoy travelling to Tripoli.

© 2011 AFP

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