The International Criminal Court has started a formal investigation into possible crimes against humanity in Libya that will focus on the role of the country's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, several of his sons and members of his inner circle, the chief prosecutor said Thursday.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC's chief prosecutor, said his office had received confirmation that Libyan security forces had fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing hundreds, and that many had been illegally detained in episodes involving at least nine different towns since Feb. 15, according to New York Times.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced that his investigation would target "Gaddafi, his inner circle including some of his sons who had de facto authority over the security forces". "There will be no impunity in Libya," he said.
"The allegations are that peaceful demonstrators were attacked by security forces. During the coming weeks, the office will investigate who are the most responsible for the most serious incidents, for the most serious crimes committed in Libya," Telegraph.co.uk reports.
Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's international justice program, said that the "fundamental factor was that security council members saw the possibility of crimes occurring in Libya that would shock the conscience of humankind."
All 15 members voted to refer the case to the court, including the U.S., Russia and three other members that refuse to recognize its authority, Toronto Star reports.