[JURIST] The United Nations (UN) [official website] called on all parties to the Libyan revolution [JURIST news archive] to maintain respect for human rights [press release] as the conflict winds down in Sirte [BBC backgrounder]. As the interim government forces push through the hometown of former Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ian Martin [official profile] urged respect for the due process of law instead of seeking personal avengeance for alleged war crimes and other grave violations. UN officials also expressed concern for civilians who have chosen to remain in Sirte, which is seeing heavy street fighting, and have urged the continuance of medical aid and help by local communities and charities.
Harm to the civilian population has been a concern throughout the Libyan conflict. In August, Libyan Prime Minister Al Baghdad Ali Al-Mahmoudi [BBC backgrounder] requested that the UN create a “high-level commission” [JURIST report] to investigate alleged human rights abuses [Reuters report] by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website] forces. Although NATO was mandated by the UN to use force in order to stop Muammar Gaddafi from fomenting violence upon Libyan citizens, the campaign has allegedly gone beyond the scope of protecting civilians and recently led to the death of 85 civilians in one night after NATO forces bombed a residential area supposedly housing a rebel command center. In June, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] decided to extend a mandate to an investigative panel instructing it to continue its investigation of human rights abuses in Libya, after it published a 92-page report [JURIST reports] claiming Libyan authorities committed crimes against humanity, “as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population with knowledge of the attack.”
See JURIST’s Feature on the Libya conflict for more.