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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid