Libya’s investigative mission is crucial to human rights

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The Libyan inquiry commission set up by the UN Human Rights Council is crucial in continuing to investigate past and ongoing human rights violations in the war-torn country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned on Tuesday.

In a written statement, HRW reminded that the assignment mandate expires on 30 September and emphasizes that it should be renewed.

It pointed out that human rights violations and violations of international law are major factors causing violence and conflict in Libya.

“Members of armed groups, militias and security forces continue to carry out extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and arbitrary arrests and detentions throughout Libya,” HRW said.

The rights group further said that limited time and movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have “severely hampered the mission’s ability to effectively fulfill its mandate, limited its access to the country and its ability to investigate the wide range of human rights violations and abuses committed” in the last five years. ”

“The mission plays a key role in fighting impunity in Libya and giving victims an opportunity to have their voices heard and their rights upheld,” it stressed.

It is often uttered by humanitarian groups as well as Libyan authorities forcing loyalists to Putist general Khalifa Haftar, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), to engage in violations of rights and even war crimes.

Last year, HRW called on Haftar to investigate alleged war crimes by his warriors following the discovery of mass graves in territory previously under their control.

“Haftar must immediately hold its forces accountable for all war crimes they commit and obviously advertise online,” said HRW senior Libyan researcher Hanan Salah. “Senior (LNA) leadership has ignored these crimes, but they should be held accountable by national and international courts for complicity in abuse.”

Similarly, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled earlier in November that the offensive by Eastern forces under Haftar’s command was part of “a pattern of violence involving numerous airstrikes and shelling of civilian areas, arbitrary abduction, detention and torture of civilians, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances and looting of civilian property. ”

Libya has been plagued by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising overthrew longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and divided the country between a UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli and rival authorities loyal to warlord Haftar in the east.

Haftar launched a military offensive in 2019 to conquer the capital, a campaign supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and France. But his march on Tripoli finally failed in June 2020, after Turkey increased its support for the Libyan government, which also received support from Qatar and Italy. This paved the way for the ceasefire agreement in October and a transitional government responsible for leading the country to elections on December 24, 2021.

At the same time, the trials against Haftar, who lived in the US state of Virginia for decades, continue with the second term for the trials, which begins on Wednesday. Haftar stated that he will not attend the trial session on Wednesday but will instead send a lawyer.

Haftar’s LNA has been involved in a civil war that has raged in the country for years. Once a lieutenant of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Haftar fled to the United States in the 1980s and lived for many years in northern Virginia. He is generally believed to have worked with the CIA during his time in exile.

He is also a defendant in three separate federal lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Plaintiffs allege that their loved ones were killed or tortured by Haftar’s forces.

The lawsuit calls for millions of dollars in damages that can be recovered from property that Haftar, a dual American and Libyan citizen, and his family still own throughout northern Virginia.

In court papers, Haftar claimed that he is immune to lawsuits because he is head of state. He also said that the judge should dismiss the cases because a lawsuit trying to claim guilt in the country’s civil war is a “political issue” that requires respect for the executive.

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