On Monday, the probe appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council said that UN investigators have found evidence of possible “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in Libya.
The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya released a report listing testimonies of grave crimes committed such as murder, torture, enslavement, rape and extrajudicial killing.
The report stressed that “the violence that has plagued Libya since 2011, which has almost inflamed since 2016, has enabled the commission of serious violations, abuses and crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, against the most vulnerable groups.”
The report also indicated that there are “reasonable grounds to believe that members of the Russian Wagner Group may have committed murders, especially since there is evidence that they fired direct shots at people who did not directly participate in the hostilities,” according to the agency.
“Recognizing the need to ensure justice for the victims, the mission has identified individuals and groups (both Libyans and foreign actors) who may bear responsibility for the violations and abuses under investigation,”
“Given the complexity of the situation, more time and resources are needed to determine individual and state responsibility for all violations that have occurred since 2016,” the report added.
Every now and then mass graves with remains were found in areas controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s forces, who has for many years fought the former, internationally recognised government of the “National Accord”, and carried out a failed attack on the capital, Tripoli, on April 4, 2019.
On Monday, the Libyan authorities announced the exhumation of the remains of 10 unidentified bodies from two new cemeteries in a garbage dump in the city of Tarhuna, south of the capital, Tripoli, where it is the first time that mass graves have been discovered at the public landfill in Tarhuna.
Until March 2021, the number of missing persons registered with the Libyan authorities reached 3650 from different cities, including 350 missing from Tarhuna.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has repeatedly warned of the dangers threatening many activists in the areas controlled by Haftar’s forces, in light of the continued impunity of the perpetrators.
For many years Libya has been suffering from a fierce civil war launched by the militias of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to seize power from the Government of National Accord recognized by the United Nations, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries among civilians, and causing massive damage to the country’s infrastructure.
According to human rights statistics, 2020 witnessed the deaths of 416 civilian victims, including 114 unidentified bodies, and 89 bodies found in mass graves, in addition to 105 cases of kidnapping and enforced disappearance of journalists, doctors, civil society activists, human rights activists and members of judicial bodies, and the injury of 491 civilians following military operations, indiscriminate bullets, mines and remnants of war, in addition to 121 incidents of targeting and attacks on civilian facilities, facilities and targets.
Libya is attempting to end a decade of chaos that started with the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 with the election of the “Government of National Unity” headed by Abdel Hamid Al-Dabaiba, to enter a transitional phase until the elections scheduled for December.