By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 28 November 2014:
As the conflict in Libya intensifies . . .[restrict]and the number war crimes grows, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is urging the United Nations to act on its threats to impose sanctions upon those individuals who it has deemed “terrorists”.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW warned: “UN Security Council threats of sanctions become hollow if they are never acted upon. As each day passes, more people die and more opportunities to reverse Libya’s downward spiral are being frittered away”.
Libyan authorities have shown themselves powerless or unwilling to investigate and prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings and other serious rights abuses in the country, said HRW. International efforts to establish accountability have stalled, leaving Libya in a crisis.
The eastern town of Derna, which has had no significant presence of state authorities, including police and a functioning judiciary, since the end of the 2011 revolution, is of particular concern to HRW.
“Extremist militias controlling Derna in the absence of any state authorities have unleashed a reign of terror against its inhabitants,” said Whitson, “Commanders should understand that they may face domestic or international prosecution for the grave rights abuses their forces are committing.”
According to a Derna resident and activist who fled the town to escape persecution by the Islamist militias, Derna was “fully under the control of fundamentalists”—some who had pledged allegiance to ISIS—who had enforced a strict interpretation of Sharia law with public executions and floggings.
HRW is calling on the UN to establish urgently an international commission of inquiry or similar mechanism to investigate alleged war crimes and other serious violations by all sides of the conflict in Libya, with a view to ensuring future accountability. [/restrict]