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Amnesty says Gaddafi's attacks "may amount to war crimes"

Arab World Materials 6 May 2011 15:58
Attacks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi on the western city of Misurata may amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said Friday in a report.
Amnesty says Gaddafi's attacks "may amount to war crimes"

Attacks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi on the western city of Misurata may amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said Friday in a report.

The pressure group accuses Gaddafi forces of using heavy artillery, rockets and cluster bombs in civilian areas and sniper fire against residents, DPA reported.

"The scale of the relentless attacks that we have seen by Gaddafi forces to intimidate the residents of Misurata for more than two months is truly horrifying," said senrior adviser Donatella Rovera, who is currently in Libya.

The London-based rights group singled out an incident in April, when it says government troops targeted civilians standing in a queue outside a bakery.

Libya's third-largest city has seen some of the worst violence in the country and is experiencing an escalating humanitarian crisis. Rebels say at least 1,000 have been killed there.

Human rights groups say Gaddafi's forces have also been using cluster bombs to attack the port city.

Cluster bombs, which eject smaller bomblets, have been outlawed by more than 100 countries which have signed up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which took effect in 2010. Libya is not a signatory to the convention.

Amnesty said the use of cluster munitions in residential areas amounts to a "flagrant violation of the international prohibition on indiscriminate attack."

Gaddafi's forces remain in control of the airport in Misurata, while its port remains a battleground for rebels and government loyalists, resulting in shortages of food and medical supplies in the city.

Amnesty's report comes two days after the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that he plans to seek arrest warrants against three unnamed Libyans in connection with the slaying of anti-government protesters.

Moreno-Ocampo is to present his case for crimes against humanity to the ICC's pretrial chamber.

UN Security Council members and the United States say they supported the prosecutor's request for arrest warrants.

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