[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Friday decided to extend a mandate instructing a panel to investigate human rights abuses in Libya. The council, without voting, adopted a resolution [AP report] that orders the investigation of abuses in Libya to continue through the end of the year. The three-person commission appointed to investigate violence in Libya published a report early in June finding that Gaddafi’s forces have committed crimes against humanity [JURIST report] and war crimes under orders from Gaddafi and other high-ranking officials. The commission’s 92-page report said Libyan authorities have committed crimes against humanity such as acts constituting murder, imprisonment, and other severe deprivations of physical liberties, torture, forced disappearances, and rape “as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population with knowledge of the attack.”
Last month, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official websites] announced he is seeking arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and two others in his inner circle on charges of crimes against humanity. The ICC has also launched a probe to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] by the Libyan government. Moreno-Ocampo specifically identified Gaddafi, his sons and his political allies as targets of the investigation and warned Libyan officials that complicity in such abuses would result in prosecution. Additionally, the UN appointed a team of special prosecutors [JURIST report] to investigate allegations that Gaddafi ordered forces to torture and abduct opponents. Gaddafi is accused of ordering hospital patients’ executions, firing on crowds of protesters and using other extreme tactics against his opponents. The UN General Assembly has voted to suspend Libya [JURIST report] from the UNHRC in response to the violent suppression of peaceful protesters by forces loyal to Gaddafi. The ICC has also said that it will not grant immunity [JURIST report] to any person perpetrating crimes against humanity in Libya.