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Ban calls for punishment for 'the blood of innocents' in Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff
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U.N.: Libyan violence must stop
  • Ban says "egregious" human rights violations are under way in Libya
  • The crisis could go "in any number of directions," he says
  • United Nations
  • Ban Ki-moon
  • Libya

United Nations (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he called "egregious violations" of human rights Wednesday as Libya tried to crush an ongoing revolt, telling reporters that those who have shed "the blood of innocents" must face punishment.

Ban said Gadhafi "has not heeded" calls for restraint and said the international community is examining "a broad range of options" in the crisis, but would not disclose specifics.

"The violence must stop," Ban said. "Attacks against civilians are a serious violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and those responsible for brutally shedding the blood of innocents must be punished."

Protests against Gadhafi's nearly 42-year rule have led to opposition forces seizing control of much of the eastern half of the country. Gadhafi has ordered his military to crack down on anti-government protesters. Witnesses in Tripoli reported sporadic gunfire Wednesday evening.

"The current situation is unpredictable and could go in any number of directions. Many of them are dangerous," Ban said. "At this critical juncture, it is imperative that the international community maintain unity and act together to ensure a prompt and peaceful transition."

The Security Council issued a statement condemning the violence Tuesday after closed-door meetings. Libya's deputy U.N. ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi -- who has renounced Gadhafi's regime -- said the statement was "a good message" but "not strong enough."

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