By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 28 January 2015:
Amnesty International has said that targeted UN sanctions and accountability, including through the International Criminal . . .[restrict]Court (ICC), are urgently needed to end the rampant abductions, torture, killings and other abuses by rival groups in Libya, some of which, it says, amount to war crimes.
In a new briefing published today, Amnesty details a series of abuses carried out by fighters from both sides of the conflict: the Shoura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR), a coalition of Islamist militias, and General Khalifa Hafter’s Operation Dignity, which was officially brought under the Libyan National Army (LNA) in November 2014.
According to the report, both sides have abducted and killed scores of individuals. It speaks of photos and videos of their dumped bodies, often bearing signs of torture, later appearing on social media. In some cases, activists, religious leaders and journalists have been assassinated in politically motivated attacks.
The humanitarian consequences to the conflict between the SCBR and Operation Dignity in Benghazi have been dire, the report said. At least 90,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and civilians are struggling to cope with a lack of water, rising food prices, severe power cuts and shortages in cooking gas and fuel. Hospitals are suffering from staffing and medical supply shortages. Some hospitals have been evacuated after being hit by shelling.
“Unless the international community demonstrates the will to investigate war crimes and hold perpetrators accountable, the cycle of abuses and suffering of victims is likely to worsen. This climate of impunity compounded by lawlessness must be ended,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
The group has called on the UN Security Council to impose targeted sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes against those committing violations against human rights as per resolution 2174 adopted in August 2014.
Amnesty has also urged the ICC to expand its investigations to incorporate war crimes and crimes under international law committed by all armed groups since February 2011. Thus far, the ICC has only investigated crimes committed during 2011 revolution.
Ongoing talks between opposing parties in Geneva have offered hope that Libyan leaders will be able to reverse the country’s downward spiral, Amnesty has cautioned that dialogue without accountability will ultimately fail.
“Efforts to reach a political settlement will be meaningless if they do not ensure human rights concerns are addressed. Human rights abuses committed by the warring parties are fuelling grievances and cannot be swept under the carpet,” said Sahraoui.
“The participants’ commitment to the rule of law and respect for human rights is a crucial first step, but words alone will not change things on the ground. Effective accountability measures must be put in place if the cycle of abuse is to end.” [/restrict]