REUTERS/Hazem Ahmed

UN Human Rights Council: Libyan government moves to end UN investigation into war crimes in the country despite ongoing atrocities

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

(6 July 2022 – Geneva)  The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (FFM)  presented their latest report to the UN Human Rights Council  today, only  days after protestors in Libya stormed the countries parliament and other government buildings.   Their report details gross human rights violations committed by armed groups and government forces throughout the country, including allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes.   Despite these findings the UN Human Rights Council  is poised to adopt a resolution drafted by Libya that only allows the investigation to continue for a  “final, non-extendable period of nine months.”

“This approach”, according to Jeremie Smith, Director of the Geneva Office of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), “in effect announces to war criminals in Libya that UN efforts to ensure accountability for rights violations will soon end, no matter how many atrocities they commit in the coming months.”

Speaking before the Human Rights Council, CIHRS and partner human rights organizations warned that an absence of accountability efforts at the UN will only “encourage more violence and hamper efforts to ensure a sustainable peace is achieved” in Libya.

Violations and abuses documented by the Fact-Finding Mission in their report include “the crimes against humanity of” murder, torture, imprisonment, rape, enforced disappearance and enslavement, “direct attacks on civilians amounting to war crimes,” attacks against civil society and journalists including assassinations, abductions, arrests and arbitrary detention, as well as “gross and systematic human rights violations against migrants.”

Under the proposed resolution, the FFM on Libya will automatically end in March 2023.   NGOs have called on states to ensure that UN monitoring is maintained as long as gross human rights violations and abuses continue to be carried out in Libya with impunity.

 An absence of strong and sustained efforts by the UN to ensure accountability in Libya  “could lead to an escalation in violations and crimes, further entrench impunity, and undermine efforts to navigate the country towards political stability grounded in respect for the rule of law,” warned human rights organizations in a joint letter to UN Member states and at a high-level event co-hosted by Switzerland, Germany, and the United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL).

The states who participated in the military intervention that resulted in the fall of Gaddafi did so with a promise to uphold democracy and human rights.   Those states now have a solemn responsibility to live up to this commitment and ensure the UN does not abandon victims of human rights violations in Libya.” said Karim Salem, Maghreb Advocate at CIHRS.  “The recent unrest in Libya, which reflects a crisis of legitimacy for governing authorities, reinforces the need for international efforts to ensure accountability and an adherence to the rule of law.”

This post is also available in: العربية

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