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(New York) ­­– The United Nations Security Council’s unanimous resolution referring Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) sends a strong signal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his commanders, as well as other governments in the region, that the international community will not tolerate the vicious repression of peaceful protesters, Human Rights Watch said today.

The resolution adopted on February 26, 2011, referred the crisis in Libya to the ICC, imposed travel bans on key Libyan leaders, and froze their assets.

“The Security Council has risen to the occasion and given notice to Gaddafi and his commanders that if they give, tolerate, or follow orders to fire on peaceful protesters, they may find themselves on trial in The Hague,” said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch said the Security Council’s referral to the ICC appears aimed both at bringing justice to the Libyan people and avoiding more victims.

“The United Nations is showing concerted international resolve to pressure Gaddafi and his henchmen to end their murderous attacks on the Libyan population,” said Dicker.

The UN General Assembly is expected to consider a resolution this coming week to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, following last week’s condemnation of Libya at a special Human Rights Council session.

“The Security Council action shows that justice awaits Libyan security commanders who unlawfully attack people to stay in power,” said Dicker. “It is the clearest possible directive to Gaddafi and his cohorts to end the killing.”

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