Libya’s National Transitional Council has pledged to investigate human rights abuses committed by its own supporters, in response to a newly released report by Amnesty International.
In a statement on 13 September, the NTC condemned all abuses committed during the war, and said it “will move quickly to act on Amnesty’s findings to make sure similar abuses are avoided in areas of continued conflict such as Bani Walid and Sirte.”
In its statement, the NTC also said it would now be “putting its efforts to bring any armed groups under official authorities and will fully investigate any incidents brought to its attention.”
"We welcome the NTC's commitment to investigate abuses such as those we have documented and to ensure that they are not repeated", said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s Senior Director.
"We look forward to concrete action to ensure as a matter of urgency that detainees are not ill-treated, and that particularly vulnerable groups such as Libyans from Tawargha - most of whom have fled their town -and sub-Saharan Africans, are protected from reprisals.”
Amnesty International’s report released yesterday, The Battle for Libya: Killings, Disappearances and Torture revealed that while al-Gaddafi forces committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, forces opposed to Colonel al-Gaddafi also committed human rights abuses including war crimes.
One of Amnesty International's key recommendations is for the NTC to bring detention centres under control of the Minister of Justice and Human Rights in order to prevent ongoing abuses of captured fighters and civilians.
The organisation has also called for a strong public message that torture and other abuses will not be tolerated, and that those responsible will be held to account.
Amnesty International has asked for the NTC to take specific action, including through public appeals, to ensure that armed groups do not abuse those who are particularly vulnerable to reprisals, such as sub-Saharan Africans and Libyans from Tawargha who are generally assumed to have been sided with Colonel al-Gaddafi.
The NTC has postponed by two days its planned attack on Bani Walid, asking for civilians to leave the town after negotiations for the surrender of the al-Gaddafi forces failed.