UNITED NATIONS, Jun 9 - Investigators have evidence Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi ordered mass rapes and bought containers of sex drugs to encourage troops to attack women, the chief ICC prosecutor said.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may ask for a new charge of mass rape to be made against Gaddafi following the new evidence.
The International Criminal Court\’s chief prosecutor is expecting a decision from judges within days on his request for charges of crimes against humanity to be laid against the Libyan leader, one of his sons and his intelligence chief.
"Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape and this is new," Moreno-Ocampo told reporters.
He said there were reports of hundreds of women attacked in some areas of Libya, which is in the grip of a months-long internal rebellion.
There was evidence the Libyan authorities bought "Viagra-type" medicines and gave them to troops as part of the official rape policy, Moreno-Ocampo said.
"They were buying containers to enhance the possibility to rape women," he said.
"It was never the pattern he used to control the population. The rape is a new aspect of the repression. That is why we had doubts at the beginning, but now we are more convinced that he decided to punish using rape," the prosecutor said.
"It was very bad — beyond the limits, I would say."
Gaddafi \’s regime had not previously been known for using rape as a weapon against political opponents and Moreno-Ocampo said he had to find evidence that the Libyan leader had given the order.
In March, a Libyan woman made international headlines when she entered a Tripoli hotel and said she had been raped by Gaddafi troops.
Iman al-Obeidi was detained but managed to escape from Libya. She ended up in Qatar but was deported back from there to rebel-held Libya. She is now resting at a refugee centre in Romania.
Moreno-Ocampo issued arrest warrants last month against Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi. ICC judges are to announce in days whether they agree to the charges.
The Libyan government does not recognise the international court\’s jurisdiction.
Loud explosions rocked Tripoli late Wednesday near the residence of Kadhafi as global powers gathered for talks on mapping out a democratic future for the nation.
The first blast shook central Tripoli around 2000 GMT, followed 15 minutes later by a stronger explosion near a hotel housing foreign journalists.
Regime spokesman spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said NATO pounded the Libyan capital with more than 60 bombs on Wednesday, killing 31 people and causing dozens of injuries.
The explosions came after up to 3,000 Gaddafi troops attacked Libya\’s third-largest city Misrata in a three-pronged movement from the south, west and east, rebel spokesman Hassan al-Galai told AFP by telephone from the city.
Misrata is the most significant enclave in western Libya captured by the rebels since the start of the uprising in mid-February as they battle to oust Gadhafi, who has ruled the north African nation for some four decades.
International powers were gathering for talks in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to discuss the crisis in Libya, with the nation\’s veteran leader having vowed never to surrender despite the NATO-led military campaign.
"With each meeting, international pressure is growing and momentum is building for change in Libya," said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the US delegation arrived in Abu Dhabi for the third International Contact Group talks.
Two dozen countries, including key NATO allies Britain, France and Italy, as well as delegates from the United Nations, the Arab League, and the Organisation of Islamic Conference are due to attend the talks.
As the military, political and economic pressure mounts on Kadhafi to step down, the group will discuss "what a post-Kadhafi Libya ought to look like," a senior US official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Another US administration official said the Contact Group would discuss the dire need for funding for the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC).
The opposition has complained that little has happened since the group last met on May 5 in Rome when Clinton and her partners agreed on a new fund to aid the rebels and promised to tap frozen assets of Kadhafi\’s regime.
NATO allies Wednesday pledged to stay in Libya "for as long as necessary" and commit the "necessary means" to the military campaign as they extended the operation for another 90 days until late September.
"All ministers agreed we will keep up the pressure for as long as it takes to bring this to an early conclusion," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after a meeting in Brussels.
But the top US commander Admiral Michael Mullen conceded the Libya campaign was making "very slow progress," while French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet played down expectations of a quick end to the war.
With only eight out of 28 NATO members carrying out air strikes, NATO\’s secretary general as well as the US and British defence chiefs, prodded allies to help ease the burden on air crews showing signs of fatigue.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates named three countries that should mull taking part in air strikes — Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands — and urged Germany and Poland, which are not participating at all, to consider joining the campaign, said officials familiar with the discussions.
"We want to see increased urgency in some quarters in terms of Libya," British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said before the talks.