Luis Moreno-Ocampo has been the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor since 2003
ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, seen here in April 2011, has said he would seek arrest warrants on May 16 for three people considered most responsible for crimes against humanity in Libya. © Jim Watson - AFP/File
Luis Moreno-Ocampo has been the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor since 2003
AFP
Last updated: October 19, 2011

Warcrimes court to seek Libya arrest warrants on May 16

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on 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 would likely head 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 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," said the statement.

ICC prosecutor's office spokeswoman Florence Olara told AFP that the three wanted names "would be given on Monday." The names were likely to be announced at a press conference in The Hague.

Moreno-Ocampo on March 3 announced a probe into crimes against humanity committed in Libya, including against Kadhafi and three of his sons.

The Argentinian prosecutor is also targeting four other senior Libyan officials, including Libya's top diplomat Mussa Kussa and former prime minister Abu Zeyd Omar Dorda, the director-general of the Libyan External Security Organisation.

Olara on Thursday said the prosecutor's office did not extend its investigation into Libya itself.

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

Added Olara: "Once we see someone, we have a duty to protect them."

"The 11 states we mention are outside of Libya."

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.

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