GENEVA, Switzerland, April 21 (UPI) -- Targeting medical facilities in Libya and the use of indiscriminate weapons like cluster bombs could amount to war crimes, the U.N. human rights chief said.
The United Nations in February referred Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to the International Criminal Court for ordering attacks on unarmed demonstrators. The Security Council later passed a mandate that authorized international military intervention to prevent attacks from forces loyal to Gadhafi.
Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for Human Rights, said she heard of reports of at least one cluster bomb exploded near a medical facility in Misurata, where rebel fighters are struggling for control against a well-equipped Libyan military.
"The pro-government forces besieging the city, including their commanders and all other personnel, should be aware that -- with the International Criminal Court investigating possible crimes -- their orders and actions will be subject to intense scrutiny," she said in a statement.
She also called on NATO forces to exercise caution to prevent civilian casualties when conducting airstrikes over Libya.
Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, commander of coalition operations over Libya, said his forces were making gains against Gadhafi elements on the ground. He said those on the ground needed to be mindful of the conflict, however.
"Civilians can assist NATO by distancing themselves from Gadhafi regime forces and equipment whenever possible," he said in a statement. "Doing this will allow NATO to strike those forces and equipment with greater success and with the minimum risk to civilians."