By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 4 September 2014:
The United Nations has detailed a series of serious international human rights . . .[restrict]violations and breaches of humanitarian law in a report on fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi.
The report gave an overview of recent abuses which included attacks civilian buildings and areas, the shelling of hospitals, abduction, torture and unlawful killings. It also gave accounts of civilian casualties including women, children and foreign nationals.
Focusing on the last month and half of violence in the two cites, the the UN Commission for Human Rights stated that fighters appeared “to disregard the likely impact of their action on civilians” and stated that clashes had “dire consequences for civilians and civilian infrastructure”. It added that given the inaccuracy of the weapons and ammunition being used by forces on the ground with “inadequate training and discipline” that that the attacks appeared to have been “indiscriminate”
“Protection of civilians must be a priority,” the report stated. “All armed groups must comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack,” it added.
“All armed groups must desist from violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular all acts that may amount to war crimes, including indiscriminate shelling, enforced disappearances, murder, abductions, torture and other ill-treatment,” the report said.
Warning that there would be consequences for political and military leaders as a result of these actions, the UN said individuals could be held criminally responsible – not only if they ordered the crimes but also if they were in a position to stop them but did not do so.
The UN called on all armed groups to “remove from active duty and hand over to the justice system those among their members suspected of having committed abuses”.
At the end of last month the UN Security Council extended UN sanctions to include anyone endangering Libya’s stability and democracy, squarely backing the House of Representatives and the Thinni government. Although no list of those to be charged or sanctioned has yet emerged, it is believed that as many as 250 individuals may be hit by the measures.
The UN report also explained that at least 100,000 Libyans had been internally displaced by the fighting including Tawerghans who were already in their displacement camps since 2011. It added that a further 150,000 people, including many migrant workers, had also left the country.
The government has called on armed groups to respect international law and human rights conventions after an attack on the Tawerghan refugee camp in Tripoli’s Falah district last week. The Prime Minister’s office called the assault a “cowardly and criminal” warning that such actions could result in a spiral of revenge killings.
Tawergha Local Council has accused Libya Central Shield of perpetrating the attacks. The local council, which operates in exile after the destruction of the town during the revolution, has said one of the refugees at the camp was killed in the attacks.
There are reports from the local council that the man, a farmer, was executed in cold blood and that a number of other camp residents were injured in the violence.