THE HAGUE - The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor warned the Libyan regime Wednesday it could face investigation and prosecution if it tries to cover up crimes committed against its people.
The office of the prosecutor sent a letter to Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi, its head of jurisdiction Phakiso Mochochoko told AFP.
“The office calls upon you and other Libyan authorities to refrain from being involved in such cover up. Failure to do so will result in investigation and prosecution,” said the letter, shown to AFP.
The office “considers that part of the criminal plan implemented in Libya includes the cover-up of the crimes” committed to quash a popular uprising against Colonel Moamer Kadhafi that erupted in February.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday asked the court’s judges to issue arrest warrants against Kadhafi, his second-oldest son Seif al-Islam and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi — for crimes against humanity.
But Libya’s government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim has dismissed the ICC’s bid, saying the copurt has no jurisdiction over Tripoli while denying accusations that the regime ordered the killing of civilians or hired mercenaries against them.
However, Mochochoko said Kadhafi’s regime is obliged to cooperate after the United Nations Security Council in February referred the Libyan crisis to the ICC prosecutor for investigation into crimes against humanity.
Thousands of people have died in violent clashes pitting regime opponents and Kadhafi loyalists, and forced some 750,000 to flee, according to data from the ICC and the UN.