The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published on Thursday February 25, a 95-page report detailing of human rights abuses in Libya since 2014 that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described as:
“very serious violations and abuses that may, in many cases, amount to war crimes.” adding “One of the most striking elements of this report lies in the complete impunity which continues to prevail in Libya and the systemic failures of the justice system,”
A six-member U.N. team, based in Tunis due to the security situation in Libya, gathered evidence over the course of a year of crimes and abuses committed after January 2014 and found “gross violations of human rights in Libya” from hundreds of victims and witnesses. The investigative team undertook missions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Italy, and facilitated the travel of some victims and witnesses to Tunis.
The report “describes widespread violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and abuses of human rights, perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Libya throughout 2014 and 2015.” adding “Violations and abuses have not been limited to one area of Libya or to one actor; OHCHR documented such acts having also been perpetrated by State actors and armed groups, some of which affiliated with Libya Dawn or Operation Dignity.”
The violations and abuses documented include unlawful killings in all conflict areas, indiscriminate attacks on highly populated areas, torture, arbitrary detention, abductions, disappearances, gender based violence, attacks on human rights defenders and journalists, attacks on migrants and the forced conscription and sexual abuse of children.
The OHCHR report “calls upon the international community to ensure that the International Criminal Court, which has jurisdiction over Libya, has the necessary resources to carry out its investigations and prosecutions.”
Although in doing so the report acknowledges that “The sheer number of allegations of gross violations of international human rights law, serious violations of international humanitarian law and serious abuses of human rights, and the fact that they have been committed by so many different parties in disparate geographical areas, present enormous challenges, in particular in overcoming the prevailing impunity and fostering accountability.” adding “It is however clear that the International Criminal Court is not designed to address, and will never be able to pursue, such a large number of cases relating to crimes under international law arising in Libya.”
The report also cited the work of two other UN agencies whose work highlights the dire humanitarian toll the conflict has taken on Libyan civilians.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as at September 2015, 1.9 million people in Libya required essential humanitarian aid in order to meet basic health-care needs.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, food insecurity affects some 1.2 million people in Libya.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed his appreciation to the Government of Tunisia for hosting the team in Tunis.
Links from the OHCHR Press Release:
Two versions of the report are available.
shorter version (16 pages)
full version (95 pages)