HRW urges Libya government to ensure protection of civilians

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [press release] the Libyan government Wednesday to take steps to secure the human rights of residents of Tawergha, who have been targeted for revenge because of their believed support of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] during the 2011 Libya Conflict [JURIST backgrounder]. The human rights advocates further urged the UN Security Council [official website] to condemn "the forced displacement of roughly 40,000 people, arbitrary detentions, torture, and killings," claiming that these acts are "widespread, systematic, and sufficiently organized to be crimes against humanity." According to HRW, armed groups from Misrata, a town approximately 20 miles north, are responsible for the "systematic destruction" [satellite imagery] of the town in "an apparent attempt to prevent Tawerghans from returning home." In addition to calling for the protection of the Tawerghans, HRW urged Libyan authorities to "promptly investigate individual Tawerghans accused of committing serious crimes during the 2011 conflict, including alleged rapes and unlawful killings in Misrata, and if there is evidence of a crime, prosecute them to the full extent of the law."

This is the latest in the ongoing efforts to ensure a properly-functioning justice system and promote reconciliation in Libya after the 2011 conflict. The trial [JURIST report] of 40 former Libyan officials began earlier this month in al-Zawiya. The charges include inciting the killing of protesters during the revolution, wasting public funds, embezzlement and abuse of power. Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] called on Libya [JURIST report] to extradite former Gaddafi intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi [BBC profile]. In January the ICC asked Libya to address reports [JURIST report] that it planned to try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and al-Senussi in domestic courts. In October Libyan government lawyers urged the ICC [JURIST report] to allow the men to be tried in Libya and promised that the trial would be fair. In August Saif al-Islam stated that he preferred to be tried by the ICC [JURIST report] out of fear that Libya would not try him fairly.

 

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