War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity Committed in Libya Since 2016, UN Probe Reveals

War crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, and recruitment of child soldiers, have been committed in Libya since 2016, a United Nations (UN) investigation revealed on Oct. 4.

The independent fact-finding mission, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, examined hundreds of documents, interviewed over 150 individuals, and conducted investigations in Libya, Tunisia, and Italy, and found that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed.

The investigators found that migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and detainees were particularly exposed to human rights violations.

“Our investigations indicate that violations against migrants are committed on a widespread scale by State and non-State actors, with a high level of organization and with the encouragement of the State — all of which is suggestive of crimes against humanity,” Chaloka Beyani, a member of the mission, said.

The team said that they found evidence of “disturbing” patterns of violence in Libyan prisons where detainees face daily torture and their families are prohibited from visiting.

The investigators further found that Libya’s state of instability has led to the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, including some ethnic groups.

The team also documented accounts of hostilities, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and other forms of violence against vulnerable populations, including LGBTQI people.

The investigators also identified individuals and groups — both Libyan and foreign — who may be responsible for the violations, abuses, and crimes. However, they said that the list will remain confidential “until the need arises for its publication or sharing with other accountability mechanisms.”

“We urge Libya to intensify its efforts to hold those responsible to account. It is also essential that the international community continues to provide support to the Libyan judicial authorities,” Mohamed Auajjar, Chair of the Fact-Finding Mission, said.


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