News / Africa

UN Accuses Libyan Forces of War Crimes

Rebel fighters fire a heavy machine gun toward forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at Misrata's western front line, some 25 kilometres (16 miles) from the city center, June 1, 2011
Rebel fighters fire a heavy machine gun toward forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at Misrata's western front line, some 25 kilometres (16 miles) from the city center, June 1, 2011

Special United Nations investigators accuse government forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity - charges that Libya denies.  Members of an international Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing war say they, too, have evidence of war crimes committed by opposition forces.  The commission has submitted its report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The chair of the Commission of Inquiry, Cherif Bassiouni, does not mince his words as he presents the conclusions of the fact-finding mission to the U.N. Human Rights Council.  

“There have been many serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by government forces and their supporters amounting to war crimes. They include attacks on civilians and civilian objects and targets, attacks on humanitarian-related personnel, attacks on medical units and transports using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions,”  Bassiouni said.

The 92-page report also lists a large number of violations committed by government forces, which it says amounts to crimes against humanity.  These include murder, torture, enforced disappearance and sexual abuse as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.

Addressing the U.N. council, the head of the Libyan delegation, Mustafa Shaban, denied the charges, saying it was instead rebels and NATO forces that committed abuses.

Bassiouni says the commission did not find evidence that the opposition armed forces were part of any widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.  

“However, in certain reports that indicates that these forces connected with the opposition did commit certain international crimes, such as killings, tortures, cruel treatment and some outrages upon personal dignity, in particular against persons in detention, migrant workers, and those believed to be mercenaries,” Bassiouni said.  

During its mission to Libya, the commission met with 350 people across the country, including government and opposition officials, civil society, displaced people, medical staff and a few detainees.  It also looked at thousands of pages of documents, photos and videos.

The investigators say they have received estimates that 10,000 to 15,000 people have been killed since the war broke out in February.  But it says it cannot confirm this number.

During a news conference following the presentation of the report, Bassiouni told journalists he was not surprised by the findings.  He says the violations being committed by Mr. Gadhafi’s government today are the same as those that have been going on for the past 42 years.

He blames the international community for letting the Libyan leader literally get away with murder for all these years.

Bassiouni says the commission needs more time to carry out a full investigation and hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will adopt a proposed resolution to extend the work of the commission for another year.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world 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

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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