Int'l court to seek Libya arrest warrants

By Staff | May 13, 2011 | 7:43 AM EDT

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will seek arrest warrants on Monday for three senior Libyan leaders for murder and persecution, the court announced Friday.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo did not release the names of the suspects, but Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is expected to be among them.

Moreno-Ocampo revealed broad details of his investigation last week to the U.N. Security Council but the announcement was the first time the court had outlined exactly which charges suspects will face — murder and persecution, considered crimes against humanity.

In Friday's statement, prosecutors said Libyan security forces "conducted widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population."

The Security Council voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to refer the Libyan crisis to the International Criminal Court and Moreno-Ocampo launched a formal investigation just days later.

Prosecutors say their investigation has identified "three individuals who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity" committed in Libya since Feb. 15, when Gadhafi's forces began a brutal crackdown on anti-government rebels.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Thursday said he expected the ICC to ask for Gadhafi's arrest, which would complicate any suggestion of the Libyan leader accepting exile as a way to end the conflict in his country.

Prosecutors said they have collected "extensive and solid evidence" during 30 missions to 11 countries and have interviewed more than 50 witnesses including "key insiders", as well as reviewing evidence including videos and photographs.