News / Africa

Human Rights Watch Cautions Against Civilian Casualties in Libya

An explosion is seen near Muammar Gadhafi's main compound in the Bab al-Aziziya district in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011
An explosion is seen near Muammar Gadhafi's main compound in the Bab al-Aziziya district in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Fred Abrahams, special adviser for Human Rights Watch

Peter Clottey

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is expressing concern about unarmed Libyans caught in the conflict between rebels and supporters of Moammar Gadhafi.

Fred Abrahams, special adviser for the group, said the rebels, NATO and Gadhafi loyalists should do their utmost to protect the public.

“All sides… should take the utmost care to make sure that civilians are not targeted… to distinguish between combatants and civilians and try to minimize the impact of the fighting,” said Abraham.

Preventing retribution

Abrahams warns in particular against attacks against Gadhaffi loyalists.

“The danger of revenge is very real because you have four decades of dictatorship with many serious abuses; torture of political prisoners [and] missing persons. And now, [there’s been] six months of conflict in which many people lost their lives,” said Abraham.”  So, some individuals on the rebel side are likely to take revenge against people who fought for Gadhafi or who they suspect of supporting Gadhafi.”

Abraham urged the rebel-lead Transitional National Council to prevent any acts of vengeance.

“The opposition authority has the responsibility here to do everything possible to stop this revenge because they started this uprising to have a Libya that has more respect for human rights… to turn away from torture and that’s why it’s important to set the tone from the very beginning,” said Abraham.

He also called on the opposition to protect civilians and government institutions including police stations and the courts.

ICC warrants

In June, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Moammar Gadhafi, his son, Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanussi, after accusing them of committing crimes against humanity. But critics say the ICC has failed to indict rebels who allegedly committed similar acts of violence.

Abrahams called on the ICC to begin what he describes as a thorough probe on both sides of the conflict and to punish the perpetrators.

“We call for an open investigation so the evidence leads you wherever it may and prosecution should ensue, if the court determines that any one on the opposition side has violated the law to that extent,” said Abraham.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid