The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor is targeting Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi, for crimes against humanity.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the three men bore the greatest responsibility for “widespread and systematic attacks” on civilians.
On Monday Luis Moreno-Ocampo will hand a 74-page dossier of evidence to a three-judge panel at the court in the Hague, the Netherlands. Then they will have to decide if the case is strong enough to confirm crimes against humanity charges. If it is they could issue international arrest warrants.
The Libyan government has already said the announcement would be ignored.
According to Deputy foreign minister Khalid Kaim the court is a “baby of the European Union designed for African politicians and leaders” with “questionable” practices.
He added that like most African countries and the United States Libya does not recognise the ICC’s jurisdiction.
“We are almost ready for trial,” Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement earlier. “The office collected good and solid evidence to identify [those] who bear the greatest responsibility.”
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said his office had gathered evidence after reviewing more than 1,200 documents and 50 interviews with key insiders and witnesses.
He said he had evidence showing that Col Gaddafi had “personally ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians”.
“His forces attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public spaces, shot demonstrators with live ammunition, used heavy weaponry against participants in funeral processions, and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after prayers,” he told a news conference in The Hague.
“The evidence shows that such persecution is still ongoing as I speak today in the areas under Gaddafi control. Gaddafi forces have prepared a list with names of alleged dissidents, and they are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli and tortured. Four have disappeared,” he added.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that Col Gaddafi had “committed the crimes with the goal of preserving his absolute authority”.
“The evidence shows that Gaddafi relied on his inner circle to implement a systematic policy of suppressing any challenge to his authority,” he added.
“His second-oldest son, Saif al-Islam, is the de facto prime minister and Sanussi, Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, is his right-hand man – the executioner, the head of military intelligence. He commanded personally some of the attacks.”
The three “held meetings to plan and direct the operations”, he alleged.
The ICC chief prosecutor also described Mr Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, as Libya’s “de facto prime minister” and Mr Sanussi as the “executioner” of the regime’s campaign against its opponents.
“The office gathered direct evidence about orders issued by Muammar Gaddafi himself, direct evidence of Saif al-Islam organising the recruitment of mercenaries, and direct evidence of the participation of al-Sanussi in the attacks against demonstrators,” said Mr Moreno-Ocampo.
Those charges concern the days following the beginning of anti-government protests in February. In the first month between 500 and 700 people are believed to have been killed.
Now the judges have to choose between accepting the prosecutor’s application, rejecting it or asking him for more information.
And on 7 June, the UN Human Rights Council will submit the result of its inquiry on the alleged war crimes to the UN Security Council.