The International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, established by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in February 2011, issued a report on 2 March 2012, finding that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed by both pro and anti-Gaddafi forces. The report called for the establishment of mechanisms to address violations and curb impunity, specifically an independent judiciary. Commissioners also found that the NATO campaign in Libya was conducted with “demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties.”
On 9 March 2012, the HRC held an interactive dialogue with the Commission, during which speakers addressed the remaining challenges in Libya. The Libyan delegation condemned all human rights violations, while most Member States present reiterated the importance of follow-up mechanisms to ensure accountability. Concerns regarding the NATO campaign in Libya arose in statements made by the delegations of Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, and Russia, who claimed that Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for the protection of the civilian population, had been used as a pretext for regime change. Later that day, the Commissioners stat ed that they would hand an envelope to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, which held the names of human rights violators from both sides of the conflict. The HRC is expected to consider a resolution on 18 March. Human Rights Watch (HRW) gave an oral statement to the HRC on 12 March welcoming the Report and its conclusion that mass atrocities had been committed. HRW stated, “With the likely ongoing crimes against humanity occurring in Libya, the primary responsibility to protect the pop ulation rests with the Libyan government,” but reminded that, “the international community also has a duty to assist the government, speedily and fully, to implement its responsibility to protect and to end these crimes.”
For more information on the ongoing threat to civilian protection in post-conflict Libya, please see the recent ICRtoP blog post, “Libya, One Year On: NTC Struggles with Revolutionary Change.”
1. Libya: Human Rights Council Monitoring Needed
Human Rights Watch
16 March 2012
The UN Human Rights Council should condemn serious, ongoing human rights violations by militias in Libya, Human Rights Watch said today. The council should appoint an independent expert to document the abuses and monitor the government’s response. (…)
(…) A draft Human Rights Council resolution proposed by the transitional Libyan government is woefully weak, Human Rights Watch said. It only “takes note” of the Commission of Inquiry report and “encourages” the government to investigate human rights violations. Negotiations on the draft will continue until the voting, on March 22 or 23.
The resolution should include the appointment of an independent expert to monitor human rights violations and report back to the Council, Human Rights Watch said. At minimum, the Council should mandate the high commissioner for human rights to report on the human rights situation in the country publicly and regularly, Human Rights Watch said.
Libya’s friends, especially those that supported the NATO intervention there, should approach Libya at the highest levels of government and insist on continued monitoring and involvement by the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said. (…)