Last updated: 9 March, 2012

List of Libyan violators to be handed to UN

Investigators probing violations during Libya’s conflict said Friday they are giving the UN’s human rights chief a list of people who should face international or national justice.

The commission of inquiry also called for further probes into NATO air strikes on Libya, saying it was unable to tell if the alliance took adequate precautions to protect civilians in some of its attacks.

The commission “has gathered information linking individuals to human rights violations or crimes,” lead investigator Philip Kirsch said.

“It will hand over a confidential list containing that information to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

Asked for details on the list, Kirsch told journalists: “The principle of a confidential envelope is that you don’t talk about what’s in it.”

Investigators had decided to keep the list confidential to “prevent risk of harm to those who are held in custody and to avoid jeopardising the fair trial rights of any persons who may be brought to trial in the future.”

In their 220-page report presented Monday to the UN Human Rights Council, the commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council accused both Moamer Kadhafi’s forces and anti-regime troops of serious crimes.

Kadhafi’s troops committed crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, forced disappearances and torture, it said.

Anti-regime troops, the thuwar, also committed “serious violations including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law” such as unlawful killing, arbitrary arrest and torture, said the report.

“The commission further found that the thuwar also perpetrated torture and ill-treatment, and continued to do so even during the commission’s visit,” said Kirsch.

“These acts are violations of international human rights law and, when committed during armed conflict, constitute war crimes,” he said.

While calling for these individuals to be brought to justice, investigators also asked for further probes into NATO air strikes on Libya.

After examining 20 strikes by the campaign by Britain, France, the United States and their allies, the commission found five in which 60 civilians were killed and 55 wounded.

NATO claimed to have taken “all feasible precautions” to minimise casualties, Kirsch told the Human Rights Council.

But “the commission was not provided with sufficient information to verify this independently, as it has done with other areas.

“The commission recommends further investigations,” he added.

Nevertheless, the inquiry found that overall, NATO “did not deliberately target civilians”.

Addressing the council after Kirsch’s report, Cuba’s envoy charged that “NATO assassinated civilians in Libya… these crimes must be investigated”.

Reacting to the commission’s report, NATO said it welcomed the finding that the alliance conducted a “highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties.”

It stressed it did “everything possible to minimise the risk to civilians, but in a complex military campaign, that risk cannot be reduced to zero.”

“We deeply regret any instance of civilian casualties for which NATO could have been responsible and we support the Libyan authorities’ efforts to review incidents from the conflict which affected civilians.”