THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 3 (UPI) -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged war crimes, the court announced Thursday.
Gadhafi, his top officials and members under his family are accused of using force against demonstrators who began protesting in the country Feb. 15.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court was opening an investigation into alleged violations of human rights laws in Libya.
"The allegations are that peaceful demonstrators were attacked by security forces," he said in a statement Thursday. "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."
Moreno-Ocampo singled out Gadhafi and members of his inner circle, including members of his family.
The investigation is expected to take "a few months" after which judges would decide if arrest warrants are necessary.
The U.N. Security Council last week referred Libya to the ICC, opening the door for an investigation. Libya isn't party to the treaty that created the court.
Meanwhile, al-Jazeera reports that Gadhafi accepted an offer from his Latin American ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to help broker a solution between members of the regime in Tripoli and opposition groups in the country.
Caracas proposed an international peace commission and is already in talks with members of the Arab League in Cairo.
Gadhafi is accused of violence against his own people, including aerial raids on protesters and opposition forces. Conservative estimates put the death toll at more than 1,000.