The International Criminal Court (ICC) says that the regime of Moammar Gaddafi planned to kill civilians even before the revolt in Libya commenced as a way for the government to stave off the kind of rebellion witnessed in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.

During the period of anti-government upheavals in Tunisia (which eventually led to the toppling of that country’s president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali by mid-January), the United Nations was already apparently aware of atrocities being committed in Libya.

The UN Security Council expressed its concerns about Libya to the ICC in February, citing the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place [in Libya] against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity.

In January, after the revolts in Tunisia, [the Libyan regime] started to prepare to face problems in Libya, they organized themselves, said the ICC’s chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo

By March, Moreno-Ocampo had already been investigating Gaddafi, three of his sons and other members of his government for committing crimes against humanity.

We have evidence that after the Tunisia and Egypt conflicts in January, people in the regime were planning how to control demonstrations inside Libya,” Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters.

The planning at the beginning was to use tear gas and [if that failed to work]... shooting.”

He said he plans to make arrangements for an arrest warrants in a few weeks after he reveals his findings to the UN Security Council on May 4th.

Meanwhile, in Libya, rebel groups have complained that NATO has been unable to protect civilians in the city of Misurata which has been under siege for weeks by Gaddafi loyalists.

[NATO] is letting the people of Misurata die every day, rebel commander Gen Abdul Fattah Younis told reporters in Benghazi. If NATO should wait another week, there will be no more Misurata.
NATO defended itself from his comments.

Misurata is our number one priority, NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero told the Agence France Presse.

We have a clear mandate and we will do everything to protect the civilians of Misurata.