The prosecutors of the International Criminal Court have found evidence to prove that Muammar Gaddafi’s forces committed crimes against humanity in the ongoing civil war in Libya.
“The available information provides reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed and continue being committed in Libya, including murder...,” said Luis Moreno-campo, the court’s chief prosecutor.
The prosecutor said that “the shooting at peaceful protesters was systematic” and the “persecution appears to be also systematic and implemented in different cities.”
“War crimes are apparently committed as a matter of policy,” a media report quoted Luis as saying.
On Feb 26, the UNSC had slapped sanctions on the Libyan regime including an arms embargo, an asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi and his loyalists, and a referral to the Hague-ased International Criminal Court.
The ICC prosecutor will brief the Security Council on his findings today.
The report said that there is “credible information” on the shooting of 500 to 700 civilians, only in February.
Human Rights Watch urged the Security Council to declare its support for the ICC investigation.
“After setting the wheels of justice in motion, the council should back the court in ensuring accountability for any grave abuses in Libya,” said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.
“The Security Council must stand by the strong action it took in February and reaffirm the court’s role in the fight against impunity,” he added.
The report said that Feb 17 security forces fired live ammunition at thousands of demonstrators who congregated in the square around the High Court of Benghazi to protest against the arrests of Fatih Terbil and Farag Sharany, who were requesting justice for the victims of the 1996 Abu Salim prison massacre.
“This was the beginning of a series of similar incidents in different cities across Libya which appears to demonstrate a consistent pattern of Security Forces firing live ammunition at civilians,” the report said.
The report said that the prosecutor will submit its first application for an arrest warrant in the next weeks.
The warrants will focus on those most responsible for crimes against humanity committed in the territory of Libya since 15 February 2011.
On Tuesday, Abdel Elah al-hatib, the U.N. special envoy on Libya, told the Security Council that a ceasefire was still eluding the feuding parties.
“The main difficulty at this stage is getting all sides to agree on the essential elements of a political process that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people,” he said.