UN probe to provide list of Libyan suspects
Commission of inquiry to hand confidential list of Libyans suspected of rights violations to UN human rights chief.
|The UN-appointed commission called for further investigation of NATO’s bombing of towns such as Sirte [Reuters]|
Investigators probing violations committed during Libya’s conflict have said that they are giving the UN’s human rights chief a list of people who should face international or national justice.
The commission of inquiry, which was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, also called for further probes into NATO air strikes on Libya, saying on Friday it was unable to tell if the alliance took adequate precautions to protect civilians in some of its attacks.
The commission “has gathered information linking individuals to human rights violations or crimes,” lead investigator Philip Kirsch said.
“It will hand over a confidential list containing that information to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,” he said.
Asked for details of the list, Kirsch told journalists: “The principle of a confidential envelope is that you don’t talk about what’s in it.”
Investigators had decided to keep the list confidential to “prevent risk of harm to those who are held in custody and to avoid jeopardising the fair trial rights of any persons who may be brought to trial in the future”.
Both sides accused
In its 220-page report, which will be presented on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council, the commission of inquiry accused both Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and anti-government troops of serious crimes.
Gaddafi’s troops committed crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, forced disappearances and torture, the report said.
Anti-government troops also committed “serious violations including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law” such as unlawful killing, arbitrary arrest and torture.
“The commission further found that the [opposition forces] also perpetrated torture and ill-treatment, and continued to do so even during the commission’s visit,” Kirsch said.
“These acts are violations of international human rights law, and when committed during armed conflict constitute war crimes.”
While calling for these individuals to be brought to justice, investigators also called for further probes into NATO air strikes on Libya.
After examining 20 strikes by the campaign by Britain, France, the US and their allies, the commission found five in which 60 civilians were killed and 55 injured.
NATO claimed to have taken “all feasible precautions” to minimise casualties, Kirsch told the Human Rights Council.
But “the commission was not provided with sufficient information to verify this independently, as it has done with other areas.
“The commission recommends further investigations,” he added.
Nevertheless, the inquiry found that overall, NATO “did not deliberately target civilians”.
Addressing the council after Kirsch’s report, Cuba’s envoy charged that “NATO assassinated civilians in Libya … these crimes must be investigated”.
Last November, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor permitted Libya to try Muammar Gaddafi’s son and one-time heir-apparent, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, in Libya, on the condition that its judges must be involved in the case.