Libya-crimes against humanity: UN fact-finding mission calls for accountability to end impunity

Libya-crimes against humanity: UN fact-finding mission calls for accountability to end impunity

The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya has called for accountability for the crimes against humanity committed in Libya, expressing deep concern over the country’s deteriorating human rights situation.

In its final report released Monday in Geneva, the UN Mission said there are grounds to believe a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by State security forces and armed militia groups.

The investigation, which outlines a broad effort by authorities to repress dissent by civil society, documented numerous cases of arbitrary detention, murder, rape, enslavement, extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance.

Nearly all survivors interviewed had refrained from lodging official complaints out of fear of reprisals, arrest, extortion, and lack of confidence in the justice system.

Migrants, in particular, have been targeted and there is overwhelming evidence that they have been systematically tortured. The report said there were reasonable grounds to believe that sexual slavery, a crime against humanity, was committed against migrants.

“There is an urgent need for accountability to end this pervasive impunity,” said Mohamed Auajjar, the Mission’s chair. “We call on Libyan authorities to develop a human rights plan of action and a comprehensive, victim-centred roadmap on transitional justice without delay, and hold all those responsible for human rights violations accountable.”

Libya’s Government is obligated to investigate allegations of human rights violations and crimes in areas under its control in accordance with international standards. But “the practices and patterns of gross violations continue unabated, and there is little evidence that meaningful steps are being taken to reverse this troubling trajectory and bring recourse to victims,” the report said.

The FFM’s investigations found that Libyan authorities, notably the security sectors, are curtailing the rights to assembly, association, expression, and belief to ensure obedience, entrench self-serving values and norms, and punish criticism against authorities and their leadership.

“Attacks against human rights defenders, women rights activists, journalists, and civil society associations have created an atmosphere of fear that has sent persons into self-censorship, hiding or exile at a time that it is necessary to build an atmosphere that is conducive to free and fair elections for Libyans to exercise their right to self-determination and choose a representative government to run the country,” the report said.

State authorities and affiliated entities – including the Libya’s Deterrence Apparatus for Combating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DACOT), the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), the Internal Security Agency (ISA), and the Stability Support Apparatus (SSA), and their leadership – were repeatedly found to be involved in violations and abuses.

Detainees were subjected regularly to torture, solitary confinement, held incommunicado, and denied adequate access to water, food, toilets, sanitation, light, exercise, medical care, legal counsel, and communication with family members.

The report also said women are systematically discriminated against in Libya and concluded that their situation has markedly deteriorated over the last three years.

The Mission called on the Human Rights Council to establish a sufficiently resourced, independent international investigation mechanism, and urged the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a distinct and autonomous mechanism with an ongoing mandate to monitor and report on gross human rights violations “with a view to support Libyan reconciliation efforts and assist the Libyan authorities in achieving transitional justice and accountability.”

The FFM said it will share with the International Criminal Court its findings and a list of those accused of committing human rights violations and international crimes.

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