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ICC warns Libya regime against covering up possible war crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official websites] declared on Wednesday that any authority attempting to cover up crimes in Libya will be held accountable. In a letter sent to Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi [AFP report], Ocampo warned against diplomats covering up crimes for Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Further, Ocampo alleged that cover-ups in Libya go so far that any trace of a crime is destroyed [Middle East Online report]. Ocampo announced Monday that he is seeking arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Gaddafi and two others in his "inner circle" on charges of crimes against humanity. Libya's government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim dismissed this, stating the court has no jurisdiction over Tripoli and denied that any war crimes had occurred.

Ocampo had previously said that his office was planning to seek five arrest warrants [JURIST report] in connection with Gaddafi's administration. He indicated that there was strong evidence of Gaddafi's involvement in various crimes against humanity, including the shooting of civilians, massive arrests, torture and forced disappearances. Ocampo revealed in April that his office had uncovered evidence [JURIST report] that Gaddafi planned to attack civilians to forestall regime-toppling revolution. Ocampo indicated that the plans were made in response to the conflicts in Tunisia and Egypt and included shooting civilians. In March, Ocampo told the press that he was 100 percent certain his office would bring charges [JURIST report] against Gaddafi. Also in March, the ICC launched a probe into allegations of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] by the Libyan government.

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