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UN to probe Gaddafi over Libya torture allegations

The UN appointed a team of special prosecutors on Wednesday to investigate allegations that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has ordered forces to torture and abduct opponents. Although a probe was launched last week [JURIST report] in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], special rapporteur for torture Juan Mendez [UN profile] clarified [AP Report] that this probe is different because he and his fellow investigators are "independent experts." Mendez is focusing on accusations that Gaddafi has ordered hospital patients' executions, fired on crowds of protesters and used other extreme tactics against his opponents. Describing complaints as "well-documented," Mendez has reached out for information from Gaddafi and stated that a lack of response will be documented in monthly reports to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website].

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council voted unanimously [press release] to impose sanctions [JURIST report] on Gaddafi, marking the first unanimous referral to the ICC in UN history. Resolution 1970 also received support from Libya's delegation itself, which renounced Gaddafi [Reuters report]. The UN General Assembly voted last week to suspend Libya [JURIST report] from the UNHRC in response to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters by forces loyal to Gaddafi. According to a statement issued by the court, the ICC will not grant immunity [JURIST report] to any person perpetrating crimes against humanity in Libya.

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