World court targets Kadhafi for crimes against humanity

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Moamer Kadhafi and key aides will be probed over allegations they have committed crimes against humanity during the uprising in Libya, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor said Thursday.

"The office of the prosecutor decided to open an ivestigation into alleged crimes against human commited in Libya," since a rebellion started on February 15, Luis Moreno-Ocampo told journalists in The Hague.

"We have identified some individuals with de facto or formal authority, who have authority over the security forces. They are Moamer Kadhafi, his inner circle, including some of this sons."

Moreno-Ocampo said he expected to ask ICC judges for arrest warrants within "a few months".

Other individuals to be investigated included the veteran Libyan leader's head of personal security; the foreign minister; the head of Libya's External Security Organisation; the head of the security forces; the regime's spokesperson; and its national security advisor, the prosecutor added.

More than 100,000 people have already fled Libya to escape a vicious crackdown by Kadhafi loyalists which has left at least 1,000 dead, according to UN estimates -- at least 6,000 according to one Libyan human rights group.

Ocampo's probe follows a referral by the United Nations Security Council, which said at the weekend that "the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity".

After a preliminary assessment of available information, the prosecutor announced Wednesday that "an investigation is warranted".

In the course of its investigation, the office of the prosecutor would liaise with the UN, the African Union, the Arab League, individual states and Interpol, he said.

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.

© 2011 AFP

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