The Hague/Madrid, March 3 (DPA) The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle for alleged crimes against humanity, the court’s chief prosecutor said Thursday.
Among those under investigation are Gaddafi’s sons and his head of security, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in The Hague.
“We have a mandate to do justice and we will do it. There will be no impunity in Libya,” Moreno-Ocampo said.
The probe is linked to Gaddafi’s ongoing crackdown on anti-regime protests, which started on February 15. Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed so far, with the regime suspected of hiring mercenaries and using airstrikes against civilians.
Any request for international arrest warrants that may be issued by the prosecution would have to be endorsed by ICC judges.
Moreno-Ocampo declined to specify how many people were under investigation, saying he would investigate “only those most responsible”.
“We will see at the end of the investigation how many” cases will be presented to judges.
While Libya is not a member of the ICC, the court was granted jurisdiction over the violence in the North African country by a resolution approved on Saturday by the UN Security Council.
An international arrest warrant against Gaddafi would seriously compromise the leader’s movements abroad.
Moreno-Ocampo said he also had information that Libyan opposition groups were armed.
“If they commit crimes, they will also be prosecuted.
“We will be impartial,” he said.
In an earlier interview with Spanish daily El Pais, Moreno-Ocampo had said that “speed is vital” because “very serious crimes continue to be committed”.
“We will make sure justice is done and that those responsible for the repression, for attacks against the civilian population, will be pursued and punished,” he told El Pais.