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Gaddafi Death a Possible War Crime: ICC

Published: 16/12/2011 01:32:11 PM GMT
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TRIPOLI - The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said on Thursday, December 15, there are serious suspicions that the death of Lib (more)

TRIPOLI - The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said on Thursday, December 15, there are "serious suspicions" that the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was a war crime.

"The death of Muammar Gaddafi is one of the issues to be clarified -- what happened -- because there are serious suspicions that it was a war crime," Moreno Ocampo told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

"I think that's a very important issue," he said.

"We are raising this concern to the national authorities and they are preparing a plan to have a comprehensive strategy to investigate all these crimes."

Gaddafi was captured and killed on October 20 in murky circumstances.

Images filmed on mobile phones before and after Gaddafi's death showed him wounded and bloodied but clearly alive after his capture in his hometown of Sirte.

Other videos showed the former leader dead amidst a jostling crowd of anti-Gaddafi fighters.

Yet, no videos showed the moment he received his fatal wound.

Raising fears about possible war crimes in new Libya, the UN and human rights groups demanded a full international investigation into Gaddafi's death.

Falling under pressure from the international community, the Libyan interim leaders agreed to launch an investigation on the death of the former Libya dictator and his son Mo'tassim.

As the investigation was launched, a UN commission of inquiry will go to Libya to join ICC investigators in pursuing the inquiry.

Moreno-Ocampo said he would speak with member nations of the Security Council to see if they had evidence on the Gaddafi killing.

"We are working very closely to the government of Libya which has to manage a very complex situation," he said.

The latest ICC announcement followed a request earlier this week by Aisha, the daughter of slain Gaddafi, to the ICC to probe the killing of her father and her brother.

Aisha's lawyer Nick Kaufman said he had written to Moreno-Ocampo asking for more information on the killing of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mo'tassim

"Aisha wants to know if he is investigating the murders and if not, why he is not," Kaufman told AFP.

Hague Trial

As for Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, now in the custody of the Libyan authorities, Moreno-Ocampo said he awaited Libya reply on whether he will be tried in Libya or handed over to The Hague-based ICC.

"The judges are asking the Libyan government if they are going to surrender Seif," Moreno-Ocampo told AFP.

“In a letter sent to the judges, they said they would first investigate all the crimes in Libya.”

The UN Security Council referred Gaddafi's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators to the ICC in February and authorized military intervention to protect civilians in March.

The ICC indicted Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the former intelligence chief for war crimes.

Captured last month in Libya, ICC judges will have to decide on any challenge by the Libyan government to their authority to try the case.

Libya has said it wants a national trial for Seif.

"So we will see what the government says. They have been asked to reply before January 10," he added.

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