UN report: Libya abuses may amount to war crimes

[JURIST] The UNreleased a report [press release] on Thursday detailing a "litany of violations and abuses" being committed by both state and non-state actors in the current Libyan conflict that may amount to war crimes. The report [text PDF], compiled by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website], found that atrocities such as sexual assault, gender based violence, unlawful killings, violent attacks and other abuses have been occurring with impunity since the beginning of 2014. The report found that not only are state actors participating in the chaos, but also multiple non-state militia groups, which have resulted in harassment, kidnapping, and murders of activists and journalists. The report notes a lack of effective oversight or accountability in relation to the violations and highlights the failure by state authorities to provide remedies to victims and prevent future violations. The UN has called for a globalized approach to stabilize the country and ensure a judicial process to address the current controversy.

Libya has remained politically unstable since the 2011 deposition of Muammar Gaddafi [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war. The internationally-recognized Libyan Parliament voted [JURIST report] in January to reject a proposal by the UN-supported unity government to curb the country's political crisis. In March of last year the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] released a report outlining a peace proposal [JURIST report] intending to end the country's political instability and "deteriorating military situation." Also in March, the head of the UNSMIL warned the UN Security Council that without intervention from the international community and UN, Libya is likely to become unstable [JURIST report] in the wake of repeated terrorist attacks.

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