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NATO faces ICC war crimes probe

Published time: November 03, 2011 09:04
Edited time: November 03, 2011 15:27
Libyans inspect the damage at a factory targeted by NATO air strikes in Bir Ghanam on August 6, 2011 (AFP Photo / COLIN SUMMERS)

Libyans inspect the damage at a factory targeted by NATO air strikes in Bir Ghanam on August 6, 2011 (AFP Photo / COLIN SUMMERS)

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) says his office will investigate alleged crimes committed by NATO during the civil war and intervention in Libya along with those of the Gaddafi regime and the rebels.

Luis Moreno Ocampo did not provide any details on allegations against NATO forces as he reported to the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

The ICC will probe into war crimes allegedly committed by anti-Gaddafi forces, including persecution of civilians, killings of combatant captives and the death of the former Libyan leader himself, the prosecutor said.

The investigation however will focus on alleged crimes of the ousted regime and particularly on those attributed to Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam and his head of intelligence al-Senussi. Both men are still at large, presumed to be somewhere in Libya.

"It is up to the UN Security Council and states to ensure that they face justice for the crimes for which they are charged," Ocampo said.

Russia backs the ICC’s effort and hopes that all parties which violated the international law will be brought to justice, the country’s deputy envoy to UN Sergey Karev said.

"The number of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure from actions of all the belligerent parties in Libya is are very high. Unfortunately, actions of the NATO-led coalition resulted in civilian deaths too,” the diplomat said. He added that Moscow expects “all those guilty of serious crimes – according to the international law – committed in Libya will be punished.”

Karev added that Russia fears that the new Libyan leaders, who promised a full investigation into the death of Gaddafi, will fail to deliver.

“We can’t help but doubt that a proper investigation will be possible immediately in the country, with ruined governing structure and virtually no functioning law enforcement or prosecution bodies,” he said.

Russia calls on the ICC to closely monitor the investigation, and “if at some point the Libyan side will for some reason be unable to perform such an investigation, the ICC will have to take over,” the diplomat explained.