Amnesty International: Libyan Governments Have Legitimised Militia Leaders Guilty of War Crimes – Al Marsad

Amnesty International published an in-depth report this week assessing the human rights situation in Libya since the beginning of the 2011 revolution, as segments of the country celebrate 10 years of the uprising which topple the government of the late Muammar Gaddafi. The report said that Libya has failed to delivered justice to the “victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and abductions committed by militias and armed groups.”

(LIBYA, 19 February 2021) – The report which was issued by Amnesty International on the day that marked 10 years since the 2011 revolution said that Libyan authorities had “promoted and legitimized leaders of militias that have been responsible for heinous acts of abuse, instead of ensuring accountability and redress for violations committed both since al-Gaddafi’s fall and under his rule.”

The damning report stated that Libya has, since the violent overthrow through a NATO-led campaign of the government of the late Muammar Gaddafi, seen country fall into conflict and lawlessness with “war crimes committed by rival militias and armed groups.” It added that successive Libyan governments promised to tackle abuse of human rights and uphold rule of law but have so far “failed to rein in perpetrators”.

Diana Eltahawy, the Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International says in the report: “For a decade, accountability and justice in Libya were sacrificed in the name of peace and stability. Neither were achieved. Instead, those responsible for violations have enjoyed impunity and have even been integrated into state institutions and treated with deference.”

Amnesty urged Libyan authorities to bring those who have committed violations in human rights to be brought to justice, “rather than rewarded with positions of power, the violence, chaos, systematic human rights abuses and endless suffering of civilians that have characterized post-Gaddafi Libya will continue unabated.”

Eltahawy added: “We call on parties to the conflict in Libya and the incoming unity government to ensure that those suspected of committing crimes under international law are not appointed to positions where they can continue to commit abuses and entrench impunity. Individuals who have been accused of war crimes should be suspended from positions of authority pending the outcome of independent, effective investigations.”

The report also highlighted that successive governments since the 2011 revolution merely “integrated militias under ministries of defence, interior or as separate entities answerable to the presidency and included them on official payroll.” AlMarsad has for several years documented such practices, which continue to be an obstacle for any security sector reform in the country.

In its report, Amnesty International cites the example of Abdel Ghani al-Kikli (or Gheniwa as he is known). Gheniwa is a militia warlord controlling the Abu Salim area and he was appointed by the Presidential Council of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) as as head of a new entity called the “Stability Support Authority,” which reports directly to the presidency. Amnesty says it has “documented war crimes and other serious human rights violations by forces under his command over the past 10 years.”

Widespread impunity continues in Libya, claims the Amnesty report. The report also cited co-option of Haitham al-Tajouri, the head of the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) militia, Abdel Raouf Kara who heads the Special Deterrence Forces (RADA), and Emad al-Trabulsi who heads public security—despite the fact that all of them have committed gross abuse and human rights violations against citizens and migrants.

In the case of Abdel Raouf Kara, the Amnesty report says that they, along with other international bodies, have documented RADA’s “involvement in kidnappings, enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful killings, forced labour, attacks on the right to freedom of expression and the targeting of women and the LGBTQ+ community.”

The report also explained that the “2012 law provided blanket immunity to members of militias for acts committed with the aim of ‘protecting the 17 February Revolution’”, and that “Libya’s judicial system remains dysfunctional and ineffective, with judges and prosecutors risking assassination and abductions for doing their jobs.”


Source: Amnesty International