October 5, 2021
Defender Center for Human Rights welcomes the report of the independent fact-finding mission on Libya, which stated that there are “reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes have been committed in Libya” while noting that violence in prisons and against migrants may amount to crimes against humanity. The head of the mission, Mohamed Ojar, confirmed that there is evidence that all parties to the conflicts in Libya, including third countries, foreign fighters and mercenaries, have committed violations of international humanitarian law, and that some of those parties have committed war crimes. The report also sheds light on the violations against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, whether at sea or places of detention, and at the hands of human traffickers. The report noted that the widespread violations against migrants are carried out “with a high level of organization and encouragement from the state.”
Furthermore, the 32-page report addresses violations against displaced persons, child recruitment, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and other forms of violence against vulnerable groups. It is worth noting that the mission was established by a resolution issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 22, 2020 to investigate human rights violations and abuses across Libya by all parties since the beginning of 2016, with the aim of halting the continued deterioration of the human rights situation, ending impunity and ensuring accountability.
Considering that the Defender Center for Human Rights is of the opinion that the report of the fact-finding mission was issued at a critical stage in Libya when there are doubts about the possibility of holding the general elections next December as scheduled according to the political agreement at the beginning of this year. It is feared that some parties involved in committing grave violations will see the mission’s report and the continuation of its work as a threat to its political ambitions. This would cause a further deterioration of the fragile political and security situation in the country. In this context, the Defender Center for Human Rights calls on the Libyan authorities and the international community to fully cooperate with the mission, facilitate its tasks, and comply with the implementation of its recommendations included in its report. The Defender Center for Human Rights also urges the Human Rights Council to fulfil the mission’s request to extend its mandate for a period of time commensurate with the breadth of its work, and for its mandate to also include the investigation of violations committed before 2016.