03.03.11 - ICC/LIBYA - ICC OPENS AN INVESTIGATION IN LIBYA

The Hague, March 3, 2011 (FH) - Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) declared on Thursday at a press briefing that the court would investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Libya since February 15.
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He said that "Peaceful demonstrators were attacked by security forces."

He added that he had identified several people at the top of the command chain who could be investigated. "They are Muammar Gaddafi, his inner circle including some of his sons, who had de facto authority," Moreno Ocampo said.

If opposition groups also have weapons and commit crimes, their leaders will also be investigated, he added, emphasizing the court's impartiality.

He then gave names of officials who would be under the ICC's scrutiny, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the head of the security forces, the head of Gaddafi's personal security and the head of Libyan external security.

"If forces under their command and control commit crimes they could be criminally responsible », he warned.

Answering a question, Moreno Ocampo asserted that it was too early to wonder how the suspects would be arrested. "The good news is that the world is reacting, faster, and the ICC is there».

United Nations Security Council resolution 1970 provides jurisdiction to the ICC over the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011.

Following a preliminary examination of available information, the Prosecutor has reached the conclusion that an investigation is warranted. The next step is for the Prosecutor to present his case to ICC judges who will then decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants based on the evidence.

SM/GF

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