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March 3rd, 2011
03:30 PM ET

Gadhafi faces investigation for crimes against humanity

Atika Shubert
CNN

(CNN) - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and some of his sons and closest advisers face investigation for alleged crimes against humanity, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said Thursday.

"I would like to use this opportunity to put them on notice," Moreno-Ocampo told CNN. "I want to be clear: If their troops commit crimes, they could be made criminally responsible."

It is the first time the court will be investigating allegations as an event is ongoing.

They include allegations of security forces killing unarmed protesters, forced displacement, illegal detention and airstrikes on civilians.

Investigators will look at the most serious accusations in Libya since February 15, the prosecutor said, when demonstrations against Gadhafi ramped up.

Moreno-Ocampo provided a map showing the locations where alleged crimes may have been committed.

He cautioned, however, that he needed more time to review the evidence.

"This is the beginning of the investigation. I can give no details," he said.

"We cannot confirm these allegations that these civilians were bombed by planes. But we have ... confirmation that civilians that were demonstrating were shot by security forces.

"We interview people and we will present the evidence to the judges. The judges will decide who should be prosecuted," he said.

But Moreno-Ocampo warned that anti-Gadhafi protesters would also be held accountable for criminal activity.

"Now, it's not just civilian demonstrations. Now, there are people opposing Gadhafi with weapons. And also we would like to warn them, you cannot commit crimes. Our business in Libya is (to) stop the crimes," he said.

The prosecutor will offer Gadhafi and others "any opportunity they want to provide their own version (of events). Because we have to be impartial. But also, we want to warn the other parties. No one can commit crimes in Libya."

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