By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 11 August 2014:
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has announced that UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative . . .[restrict]to Libya, Tarek Mitri, will be replaced at the end of the month.
Bernadino Leon, who was appointed EU Special Envoy to Libya in May in addition to role as the EU’s Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean, is taking over the post.
Although the news of Leon’s appointment was made public by British Ambassador Michael Aron on 8 August, UNSMIL did not release an official statement regarding the switch until today. Nonetheless, it has been common gossip for some considerable time in the foreign diplomatic community in Tripoli (before it all but vanished by the end of last month) that Mitri would be replaced during the summer because it was recognised that a different style of operation was needed at the head of the UN mission.
However, in a statement that Mitri would continue to serve as head of UN mission until September, when he would “hand over his duties to his successor”, UNSMIL said that Mitri had made it clear, when he renewed his one-year term a year ago, that he did not wish to stay in his post for more than two years.
It pointedly did not name his successor.
Like other international and foreign organisations, the UN has found it extremely difficult to operate in Libya given to the recent clashes in the capital. UN staff have relocated to Tunisia and are working from there. However, Mitri last spoke with the Security Council on 17 July by video from his native Lebanon, where he continues to reside.
Regarding the overall situation in Libya, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed deep concern over the effects of the conflicts concentrated in Tripoli and Benghazi.
In a statement released on 8 August, the Office stated that indiscriminate attacks are war crimes, as are attacks on civilians or civilian objects such as airports—unless such civilian facilities are being used for military purposes.
Addressing reports that the armed groups from both sides have taken prisoners and are subjecting them to torture, the Office added that torture is also a war crime, and that the perpetrators of any such crime in Libya as well as commanders who order of fail to stop the commission of such crimes could be prosecuted, including by the International Criminal Court.
The office appealed on all sides to immediately stop all violations of international law and said that it “hoped that the fighting itself would end and that Libyans would engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve their differences”. [/restrict]