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updated 6/8/2011 3:52:19 PM ET 2011-06-08T19:52:19

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said Wednesday he is investigating whether Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi provided Viagra-type drugs to Libyan soldiers to promote the rape of women during the current conflict.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said his office is collecting evidence on rapes and has become "more convinced" that Gadhafi decided to punish women by using rape as a weapon, which would be a new method in the Libya civil war of instilling fear and trying to control the population.

He told a news conference after briefing the U.N. Security Council on Darfur that some witnesses confirmed the Libyan government was buying containers of Viagra-type drugs to carry out the policy, and "to enhance the possibility to rape."

"We are trying to see who was involved," Moreno Ocampo said.

Story: Libyan woman who claimed rape leaves for US

He said it was difficult to know how widespread the use of rape is in Libya.

"We're getting important information," Moreno Ocampo said. "In some areas we had a number of a hundred people raped. The issue for us was, can we attribute these rapes to Gadhafi himself, or is it something that happened in the barracks."

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Feb. 26 to refer the Libyan crisis to the International Criminal Court, the world's permanent war crimes tribunal.

On May 16, Moreno Ocampo asked judges to issue arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity by targeting civilians in a crackdown against rebels who are trying to end his more than 40 year rule.

Judges are now evaluating the evidence and must decide whether to confirm the charges and issue international arrest warrants. If the arrest warrants are issued, Moreno Ocampo said he may add the charge of rape to the case.

Moreno Ocampo said the two cases against the three top Libyans involve the shooting of civilians in demonstrations in different cities at the beginning of the conflict and the arrest, torture and forced disappearance of people, particularly in areas under Gadhafi's control.

But he told reporters that witnesses interviewed by investigators asked why the court was focusing on arrests, tortures and disappearances over the last three months because "it happened for 20 years — so we'd like you also to review all of them."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Conflict in Libya, Week 15

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  1. Rebel fighters inspect a burning house in Yafran, about 60 miles southwest of the Libyan capital, on June 6. The rebels drove out Gadhafi forces there earlier in the day. (Youssef Boudlal / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A rebel fighter removes a Libyan flag from a house previously held by government forces in Yafran on June 6. (Youssef Boudlal / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. In this photo taken on a government organized tour, a Libyan official points at a girl identified by officials as "Haneen" while he speaks to the media in a hospital in Tripoli, Libya, on June 5. Libyan officials claimed on Sunday that the girl was injured during a NATO airstrike; however, a small note later passed by a medic to a foreign reporter claimed the child was actually injured in a road traffic accident. (Ivan Sekretarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A volunteer applies cement on the graves of soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, who have been buried at a cemetery in the west Libyan city of Misrata on June 5. Some 545 soldiers loyal to Gadhafi, who were killed in battles with rebel fighters, have been buried in Misrata according to Muslim rites since the start of the conflict. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Volunteer Mohammed Ali, right, shows aspiring camerawoman Fatima Khaled, 22, how to operate the camera at the office of Libya Al-Hurra (Free Libya), a rebel television studio, in Misrata, on June 5. The television studio is made of up of volunteers. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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    The body of a drowned refugee floats near a capsized ship that originated from Libya and which, according to the United Nations refugee agency, was transporting an estimated 850 refugees, approximately 22 miles north of the Tunisian islands of Kerkennah on Friday, June 4. The Geneva-based agency said Friday that at least 578 of the estimated 850 people on board, mostly from West Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh, survived the Wednesday sinking, making it one of the worst and deadliest incidents in the Mediterranean so far this year. (Lindsay Mackenzie / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. An ophthalmologist examines the eyes of a Libyan refugee in a makeshift hospital tent at a refugee camp in Tataouine on June 3. (Anis Mili / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Smoke billows from Tajura, a suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, after NATO warplanes launched intensive air raids on Tripoli and its eastern suburbs on June 4. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A Libyan rebel fighter prepares anti-aircraft ammunition as he wears the cap of a pro-Moammar Gadhafi officer at Misrata's western front line, some 16 miles from the city center, on June 4. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Malak Al Shami, 6, who had a leg amputated after her house was hit by a rocket, jokes with nurses at a hospital in Misrata on June 3. Malak's house was hit by a rocket belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on May 13. She lost her sister Rodaina, 1, and her brother Mohamed, 3, on the same day of the incident. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A boy scout wears a traffic police uniform, as he directs traffic on a street in Benghazi on June 2. Boy scouts are volunteering for the job, as there has been a lack of traffic police officers since the political conflict in the country began. (Mohammed Salem / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Libyans inspect the site of a blast in the parking lot of the Tibesti hotel, used by rebel leaders, diplomats and journalists, in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi on June 1. (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A rebel army officer teaches Libyan women the use of weapons in Benghazi on June 1. (Mohammed Salem / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A rebel fighter prepares tea on Misrata's western front line, some 16 miles from the city center on June 1. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Mourners pray at the funeral of Libyan rebel fighter Osama Fathy Ashour, 29, who was killed during battles with forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, in Misrata, on May 31. (Wissam Saleh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Medics carry an injured rebel fighter at a field hospital near Misrata's western front line, on May 31. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Women mourn for their relative, a rebel fighter killed during a battle with forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, during his funeral at Misrata's western front line on May 31. (Zohra Bensemra / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Libyan rebel fighters bathe in an outdoor spring in Misrata, Libya, on May 31. (Wissam Saleh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  2. Editor's note:
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Video: Gadhafi digs in as NATO planes pound Libya

  1. Closed captioning of: Gadhafi digs in as NATO planes pound Libya

    >>> we turn overseas now. nato turned up the heat on libya today, unleashing a barrage of air strikes in the capital, tripoli . as the country's leader, moammar gadhafi , vowed once again to fight to the death. nbc's stephanie gosk is in tripoli now and joins us with the latest from there. stephanie, good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, lester. well, the minister of information said that this has been one of the most horrific days of attack against his nation. 31 people killed in 60 airstrikes. now, those numbers may be a bit exaggerated, but without a doubt this nato assault on this city today has been the largest so far. in broad daylight nato unleashed its biggest barrage yet. dozens of air strikes in central tripoli rocked the uneasy calm here. among the targets, colonel moammar gadhafi 's compound, nearly leveled in previous attacks. today nato planes returned to finish the job. state television was another target, hit in the early hours this morning. libyan officials say two people were killed and more than a dozen wounded. with air strikes still echoing around the city, state tv broadcast video of gadhafi meeting with tribal leaders. earlier in the day he phoned in, angry, calling the libyan rebels bastards, vowing to stay in tripoli dead or alive . "we will not surrender to nato ," he said. "being a martyr is a million times better." nato has been intensifying its operation across libya , hoping to push gadhafi out.

    >> gadhafi will fight to the end. and nato is making a big gamble by trying to kill gadhafi and the inner circle . really the situation now is beyond any kind of compromise.

    >> reporter: in washington preside presidenta, alongside german chancellor angela merkel , sounded optimistic.

    >> the progress that has been made in libya is significant, and i think it is just a matter of time before gadhafi goes.

    >> reporter: in a late-night press conference libyan officials had a different message.

    >> nato is going mad because it could feel the resilience of the libyan nation.

    >> reporter: on state tv gadhafi called for protests outside his now destroyed compound. fewer than 200 responded. a sign perhaps that the dictator's support as the bombs continue to drop might be slipping. we're hearing of a new defection. the minister of labor , who was attending a conference in geneva, has decided to join the rebels. he is just the latest official to abandon gadhafi 's ever-shrinking government here. lester?

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