Amsterdam: The International Criminal Court prosecutor will request three arrest warrants for his investigation into the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators in Libya and said aligned states should prepare now for arrests.
The UN Security Council referred the Libyan violence to the ICC in February. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, some of his sons and aides over a "pre-determined plan" to attack protesters.
Moreno-Ocampo, who was addressing the UN Security Council about the progress of his investigation Wednesday, said he will request arrest warrants in a few weeks' time for crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 15.
"Crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Libya, attacking unarmed civilians including killings and persecutions in many cities across Libya," the prosecutor said in a statement.
Earlier, Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters he had strong proof that Gaddafi's forces committed crimes against humanity and that he would seek up to five arrest warrants.
Moreno-Ocampo urged states to prepare for arrests should ICC judges decide to issue warrants, stressing "now is the time to start planning on how to implement possible arrest warrants."
The ICC has no police force and relies on state cooperation to enforce arrests. Despite NATO bombing operations that are intended to protect civilians, Libya has been plunged into civil war, seriously complicating efforts to arrest ICC suspects.
Libya is not an ICC member state and is therefore not obligated to arrest the court's suspects. Security Council powers the United States, Russia and China are not ICC members, but voted in favor of referring Libya to the ICC.
Moreno-Ocampo said he would continue to investigate different forms of persecution against civilians in Tripoli and other areas, as well as rape and the unlawful arrest, mistreatment and killings of sub-Saharan Africans wrongly perceived to be mercenaries.
He is also investigating alleged crimes committed since the end of February, including the use of cluster munitions, rocket launchers, mortars and other heavy weaponry in urban areas.
First Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 23:49