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US, China and Russia back ICC probe into Libya crimes against humanity

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted an arms embargo against Libya, a travel and assets ban on Moamer Gaddafi's regime and ordered a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed.

The vote is thought to be the first time the Security Council has voted unanimously to refer a member state to the International Criminal Court.

Notable is the support by the United States, Russia and China for referring Libya to the ICC.

China and Russia have traditionally resisted sanctions against governments.

The US, which is not a member of the ICC, abstained when the Darfur conflict in Sudan was sent to the international court 2005 for a crimes against humanity investigation.

The UK, France, Germany and US spent eight hours overcoming opposition by several countries in the UNSC to the ICC referral , the Wall Street Journal reports.

The UNSC resolution came on the same day that President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down.

See also reports by the New York Times and AFP.