[JURIST] An Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF] released Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions and encourage accountability through International Criminal Court (ICC) [official websites] indictments and prosecutions to end the cycle of human rights violations and war crimes being committed in Libya. The report focuses in particular on the situation in Benghazi [AI report], which has been devastated since May by fighting between the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR), a coalition of Islamist extremist groups, and the Operation Dignity Coalition, composed of anti-Islamist forces loyal to ex-general Khalifa Haftar [BBC profile]. AI claims that both parties are guilty of human rights abuses, and in order to re-establish the rule of law in Libya and deter further abuses, the Security Council must impose targeted sanctions against groups violating international humanitarian law, pursuant to resolution 2174 [press release], which was adopted by the Security Council in August.
Libya remains politically unstable nearly four years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi. In December the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Support Mission in Libya [official websites] released a joint report [JURIST report] describing civilian populations in Libya being subjected to shelling, abduction, torture, execution and deliberate destruction of property. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] attributed the potential war crimes to a feud between two Libyan governments and several military groups. In November Chief Prosecutor for the ICC Fatou Bensouda [official profile] warned that increasing violence and political instability in Libya are impeding measures to end impunity [JURIST report]. Earlier that month the Supreme Court in Libya declared the UN-backed elected parliament unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In October AI released a report accusing rival militias in Libya of committing serious human rights abuses [JURIST report], including war crimes.