Africa

Libya: ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo seeks warrants

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes on the latest evacuation of residents from Mistrata

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor is seeking three arrest warrants in his investigation into crimes against humanity in Libya.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo did not give any names but told the UN Security Council that crimes were continuing.

The forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have been fighting an anti-government uprising for two months.

Meanwhile an aid ship has docked in the besieged city of Misrata, despite ongoing bombing by pro-Gaddafi forces.

'Desperation'

In his report to the UN Security Council, Mr Moreno-Ocampo noted that between 500 and 700 people were estimated to have been killed in Libya in February alone.

He has so far not named the targets of the arrest warrants - which he said he planned to submit in the next few weeks.

The BBC's Barbara Plett at UN headquarters in New York says the warrants will apparently focus on the initial clampdown against protesters.

The report noted that the alleged crimes were said to have been committed on the instructions of only a few people at the top, raising the prospect that Col Gaddafi and members of his inner circle may be charged.

The prosecutor's office is also continuing investigations into serious allegations of rape, and reports that angry mobs in the rebel-held Libyan city of Benghazi killed dozens of Africans thought to be mercenaries.

Our correspondent says Mr Moreno-Ocampo has warned he will open further cases as necessary.

Meanwhile, the aid ship, chartered by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), brought 180 tonnes of food and medicines to Misrata, after a four-day delay caused by fighting near the port.

The vessel has evacuated about 800 African and Asian migrant workers, but had hoped to take 1,000.

The IOM said: "Hundreds of Libyan civilians had also tried to board the ship in desperation to get out of Misrata. But with a limited capacity, the ramp of the boat had to be pulled up so that the ship could pull away from the dock in safety."

The operation took place "despite bombing", IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy said.

Five people are reported to have been killed in the latest shelling of Misrata, the main rebel-held town in Western Libya.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites