Libyan council welcomes ICC findings

May 6, 2011 at 1:50 PM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, May 6 (UPI) -- Suggestions from the International Criminal Court that war crimes were committed by the Libyan regime aren't surprising, a rebel-backed council said.

The U.N. Security Council referred Libya to the ICC for alleged atrocities committed against unarmed civilians during February demonstrations. ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced Wednesday that he was calling on judges to issue arrest warrants for three unnamed individuals suspected of war crimes.

The rebel-backed Transitional National Council in Libya announced that it was committed to helping the ICC bring justice to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his backers in short order.

"We are not surprised in the slightest by the ICC report. Libyans have suffered terribly at the hands of the Gadhafi regime for 40 years and these cases are just the tip of the iceberg," said council Vice Chairman Abdul Hafeed Ghoga in a statement. "The TNC is fully committed to the protection of human rights."

The prosecutor said there was evidence to suggest as many as 700 people were killed in February. The TNC statement added that the ICC report suggested war crimes were "a matter of policy" in Tripoli.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a U.N. humanitarian mission was operating in Tunisia to help those affected by the Libyan conflict.

"We are exploring the possibility of a temporary cessation of hostilities in order to better respond to acute humanitarian needs within Misurata and other vulnerable areas," he added.

A coalition of Western and Arab forces are supporting a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya billed as a humanitarian mission to protect civilians from attacks by Gadhafi forces.

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