ICC may open 2nd war crime case against Gaddafi

Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:30am GMT

By Ibon Villelabeitia

CAIRO (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Thursday he would present a case for possible war crimes by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in May and that he could open a second case to include more recent attacks on civilians.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is investigating Gaddafi, his sons and their inner circle for alleged crimes against civilians by Libyan government forces, said the probe was going well and that so far he had gathered "very good information".

"I will go to the (United Nations) Security Council on May 4 to inform them about the progress of the case and it will be ready by the end of May," Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Cairo.

Once he presents his case to ICC judges, they will need to decide whether or not to issue arrest warrants.

Moreno-Ocampo said that although his initial investigation centred around killings of civilians by security forces between February 15-26, he could open a second case to include more recent violence as fighting between rebels and troops loyal to Gaddafi broke out.

"I need to focus on what happened during the first 12 days, when unarmed demonstrators were shot. We can confirm this. The next step for us is to learn who was doing the shooting and who ordered the shooting," Moreno-Ocampo said.

"Then I will focus on what happened during the armed conflict. At the beginning of March, the Red Cross said the armed conflict started and we agreed with that, so we have to see if there were war crimes committed in those days."

A U.N. commission mandated by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council is expected to head to the field in coming weeks to investigate crimes potentially committed in the armed conflict in Libya, and Moreno-Ocampo said he would wait for their report due in June to make a decision on the second case.   Continued...

<p>Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi stands next to his tent after his meeting with Spain's King Juan Carlos (not pictured) in Tripoli January 24, 2009. Spain's King Juan Carlos visited Libya on Friday with business leaders seeking deals in the north African country opening up after years of sanctions. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra</p>
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