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ICC: no immunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Libya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] will not grant immunity [press release] to any person perpetrating crimes against humanity in Libya, according to a statement issued by the court on Monday. The ICC Prosecutor's Office is currently assessing allegations of widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population as well as other additional legal requisites established by the Rome Statute [text]. "Information suggests that forces loyal to President Muammar Gaddafi are attacking civilians in Libya," said ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile]. "This could constitute crimes against humanity and must stop." The UN Security Council [official website] on Saturday voted unanimously [press release] to impose sanctions [JURIST report] on Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile], marking the first unanimous referral to the ICC in UN history. Although Libya is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, the Security Council voted that it should nonetheless be subject to its investigation.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Friday adopted a resolution [text, DOC] condemning the recent violence in Libya and ordering an international inquiry [JURIST report] into alleged abuses. During a special session, the 47-member council unanimously adopted the resolution, which also calls upon the Libyan government to protect its population and respect the will of its people. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] spoke to the UNHRC [JURIST report] earlier Friday, calling for the Libyan government to stop the violence directed at protesters [transcript] and for the Council to rise to action. The protests began last week following those that have occurred throughout the Middle East and North Africa [BBC backgrounder], resulting in the resignations of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST reports]. Protesters have demanded Gaddafi's resignation and government reform.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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