Libya: Fact-finding mission to investigate crimes is a welcome step towards ending impunity

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has today passed a resolution to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict in Libya. The mission also has a mandate to preserve evidence with a view to ensuring that perpetrators of such violations are held accountable. Responding to the resolution, Heba Morayef, MENA Regional Director at Amnesty International said:

We welcome the establishment of the fact-finding mission as an important and long overdue step towards ending the rampant impunity that has for years fuelled by the horrific crimes committed in Libya
Heba Morayef

“We welcome the establishment of the fact-finding mission as an important and long overdue step towards ending the rampant impunity that has for years fuelled by the horrific crimes committed in Libya.

“Amnesty International and many Libyan and international organizations have been working towards the establishment of an international investigative mechanism on Libya for years. While the fact-finding mission could have had a stronger mandate and come sooner, today’s vote sends a clear signal to all perpetrators of crimes under international law in Libya that impunity is no longer an option.

We call on all parties to the conflict and their allies to fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission’s investigation team and help facilitate their work with a view to bringing all those responsible for these violations to justice
Heba Morayef

“We call on all parties to the conflict and their allies to fully cooperate with the fact-finding mission’s investigation team and help facilitate their work with a view to bringing all those responsible for these violations to justice.”

Background

Amnesty International has documented acts of retributive violence and use of banned anti-personnel landmines over the past months. Amnesty International also found that several countries, including Turkey Russia and the UAE have continued to violate the UN established arms embargo by supplying their respective allies with weapons and fighters.

Most recently, news emerged about the discovery of eight mass graves in Tarhuna and surrounding areas. Meanwhile and despite the pandemic, the fighting in Libya has further weakened Libya’s overstretched healthcare system, while vulnerable groups continue to face discrimination in access to healthcare. Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees remain stuck in Libya, where many are held in detention centres subject to abhorrent conditions, and face serious abuses including torture and rape, as well as overcrowding, while their lives remain at risk due to the conflict.

Since April 2019, an escalation of fighting in Libya has left hundreds of civilian dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced due to indiscriminate shelling of civilian neighbourhoods and other violations of international humanitarian law.