An international prosecutor said Friday he will seek arrest warrants next week for three top Libyan leaders on charges of murder and persecution during their attempts to crush the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, did not release the names of the suspects, but Gadhafi himself is expected to be among them.
Moreno-Ocampo revealed broad details of his investigation last week to the U.N. Security Council, but the announcement was the first time the court specified the charges — murder and persecution, considered crimes against humanity under the Geneva Conventions.
Prosecutors say their investigation has identified "three individuals who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity" committed in Libya since Feb. 15, when Gadhafi's forces began a brutal crackdown on anti-government rebels.
A panel of judges will review the prosecutor's evidence before deciding whether to issue the warrants. It is not clear how long the judges will take before reaching a decision.