ICC chief prosecutor to seek Libya arrest warrants Monday

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International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Friday he would seek arrest warrants on May 16 for three people considered most responsible for crimes against humanity in Libya.

The prosecutor's office also said it would reveal the three names, with diplomats saying Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi is likely to top the list.

"On 16 May 2011, the Office of the Prosecutor will request the pre trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants against three individuals who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Libya since 15 February 2011," a statement said.

"The Judges may decide to accept the application, to reject it or to ask the Office for additional information."

Moreno-Ocampo said in the statement that after widespread inquiries he had concluded that "there was enough evidence to present a request for arrest warrants for the commission of two categories" of crimes.

These were crimes against humanity and persecution, the prosecutor said.

More than 1,200 documents have been reviewed including videos and pictures and more than 50 interviews have been recorded or individuals screened to be interviewed.

"The Office (of the Prosecutor) has collected extensive and solid evidence in a short period of time through 30 missions to 11 states," it said.

ICC prosecutor's office spokeswoman Florence Olara told AFP that the three wanted names "would be given on Monday."

Moreno-Ocampo said last week that Kadhafi's regime was murdering and persecuting civilians, and that he would seek arrest warrants for three people he did not name.

"Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population have been and continue to be committed in Libya, including murder and persecution, as crimes against humanity," he said.

The ICC prosecutor said he was also investigating the deaths of dozens of sub-Saharan Africans in the rebel bastion of Benghazi by an "angry mob" who believed they were mercenaries in Kadhafi's pay.

Rebels have been fighting Kadhafi loyalists since the regime violently put down pro-reform protests in mid-February.

NATO-led air strikes on Thursday hit Kadhafi's compound in Tripoli, killing three people, the Libyan regime said, as rebels celebrated the capture of Misrata airport and fresh diplomatic coups in the West.

© 2011 AFP

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