Luis Moreno Ocampo, the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor said there is evidence that that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is using rape as a tool of war in Libya as he allegedly ordered the rape of hundreds of women.

On Wednesday, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that if the arrest warrants previously requested against the leader were to be issued, he might add the charge of rape to the case.

"Rape is a new aspect of the repression," he said.

The chief prosecutor explained to reporters at the UN in New York that he had found evidence suggesting the Libyan leader had been using rape as a weapon in order to punish women. Gaddafi's aim was reportedly to instil fear and curb dissent by allowing his forces to commit the brutal acts.

"It was never the pattern he used to control the population. The rape is a new aspect of the repression. And that's why we had doubts at the beginning but now we are more convinced," he said.

"Apparently, he decided to punish, using rape."

Mr Moreno Ocampo also said it was difficult to know how widespread the use of rape was.

"In some areas we had a number of 100 people raped. The issue for us was, can we attribute these rapes to Gaddafi himself, or is it something that happened in the barracks," he explained.

During his address, the prosecutor added that some witnesses had confirmed that 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," he added.

The investigation is still on-going and for now, the prosecutor and his team focus on collecting more information regarding what drugs were obtained by Gaddafi's troops, as in order to indict the leader they need to find out the exact details of the policy and have a clearer idea of who was involved, where the actions took place and who the officers received their orders from.

Gaddafi seems more and more likely to be charged by the ICC as in addition to the new accusations against the leader, last month, the International Court prosecutors requested the court's judges to issue arrest warrants for Gaddafi, one of his sons and the head of the country's intelligence forces, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity during the on-going conflict in the North African nation.

According to Mr. Moreno-Ocampo however, a rape charge is likely to be added to the previous charges made, which included recruiting mercenaries and attacks against peaceful demonstrators.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General's special envoy, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib, is still in Libya searching for a political solution to the conflict.

On Tuesday, he met with the Libyan prime minister and chair of the People's Congress. The UN said the meeting would enablethe UN officials to urge the regime to open up and discuss the possibility of implementing a transitional period that would "allow for a political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people."

Last night, al-Khatib visited the opposition-held city of Benghazi to discuss the same issues with the Transitional National Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

The special envoy will attend today's meeting of the International Contact Group for Libya in Abu Dhabi and discuss which steps the new regime will have to take to rebuild the Libyan society.

In Brussels, Nato defence ministers are also today ending a two-day meeting on Libya, where they are expected to discuss the achievements of the operation and decide on how the Alliance should be involved in a future transitional phase.