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ICC Prosecutor Calls for Arrest of Libyan Leaders

VOA News May 16, 2011

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has asked judges to issue arrest warrants for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, one of his sons and his intelligence chief, for crimes against humanity.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said at The Hague Monday that he had gathered direct evidence that Mr. Gadhafi, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanousi committed crimes with the goal of preserving the Libyan leader's authority.

He added that evidence showed Mr. Gadhafi had personally ordered attacks on civilians in Libya since launching a brutal crackdown on anti-government rebels in February.

The ICC move comes amid a new diplomatic effort by Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that representatives from Mr. Gadhafi's government will arrive in Moscow for talks on Tuesday. He added that rebel representatives will visit at a later date.

The ICC chief prosecutor says he will soon file a 74-page document outlining allegations that Libyan forces have systematically attacked their people.

The judges will study the evidence and either accept the warrant requests, reject them or ask for additional evidence. The process is likely to take weeks.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim has dismissed the ICC's efforts, calling them "questionable."

On Friday, the ICC chief prosecutor said investigators had collected "extensive and solid evidence" after 30 missions to 11 countries, more than 50 interviews and the review of videos and photographs.

The warrant requests come a day after Libya's prime minister offered a truce in return for an immediate NATO cease-fire. His offer came as Libyan state television reported that a new NATO airstrike hit the western city of Zuwara, near the Tunisian border.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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