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ICC to probe claims of institutionalised gang-rape in Libya

The International Criminal Court is to investigate allegations that pro-Gaddafi troops have used gang-rape as a weapon of war, as well as claims that forces have been using sexual enhancement drugs to carry out crimes.

Women march during an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in central Benghazi, Libya, Saturday 14 May 2011.
Women march during an anti-Gaddafi demonstration in central Benghazi, Libya, Saturday 14 May 2011.
Image: Rodrigo Abd/AP/Press Association Images

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT is to investigate allegations that troops loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi have been using gang-rape as a weapon against women suspected of being rebel sympathisers.

The chief prosecutor of the ICC Luis Moreno-Ocampo told CNN: “There are rapes. The issue is who organised them”.

Moreno-Ocampo said they had received information that women who were found to be carrying rebel flags when searched at military checkpoints were taken by guards and raped. He added that there had been claims that Libya security forces had been using sexual performance enhancing drugs, such as Viagra, for their attacks on victims.

“There’s some information with Viagra. So, it’s like a machete,” he said. “It’s new. Viagra is a tool of massive rape”.

Moreno-Ocampo said that the court was not ready to present the case yet but hoped to do so by the end of the month.

In April, reports circulated that the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, had told the UN Security Council that Gaddafi had been distributing Viagra pills to troops. Foreign Policy magazine wrote that Rice did not offer evidence to support that claim.

In March, a Libyan woman named Eman al-Obeidy gained international attention after telling journalists that she had been gang-raped by men serving Gaddafi.

Read more: International Criminal Court seeks arrest of Gaddafi over Libyan ‘crimes against humanity’ >

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