Many of the alleged crimes were committed against civilians and migrants detained in the country while trying to get to Europe
Investigators commissioned by the United Nations’ top human rights body said Monday they had evidence of possible crimes against humanity and war crimes in Libya. Many of the alleged crimes, they say, were committed against civilians and migrants detained in the country while trying to get to Europe.
Their findings come amid an unprecedented crackdown in Libya in recent days that has led to the detention of more than 5,000 migrants, including hundreds of children and women. Violence during the raids left at least one migrant dead, according to a U.N. tally obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.
The Libyan government had no immediate comment on the U.N. findings and has said the arrest campaign is a security operation against illegal migration and drug trafficking.
The report is the first from a “fact-finding mission” commissioned by the Human Rights Council. It includes accounts of murder, torture, enslavement, extrajudicial killings and rape. Its release could be a signal to international powers, like Russia and the European Union, to reassess their policies and support for some of the war’s parties.
The report also comes at a sensitive time for Libya, where a transitional unity government is set to hold national elections by late this year, amid pressure from the U.N. and other world powers. Libyan lawmakers adopted a bill Monday regulating the parliamentary elections, said Abdullah Bliheg, a spokesman for the legislature, in a step toward making the vote happen.
Fighting has wracked Libya since the fall of former autocrat Moammar Gadhafi a decade ago. The country was for years split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups.
“Our investigations have established that all parties to the conflict, including third-state foreign fighters and mercenaries, have violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principle of proportionality and distinction,” said Mohamed Auajjar, a former Moroccan justice minister who led the team. “Some have also committed war crimes.”
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