The United Nations announced Monday that a fact-finding mission in Libya revealed likely crimes against humanity and war crimes. The UN Human Rights Council ordered the investigation in June 2020 in response to “chaos and conflict” after 2011 ousting of President Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya is now controlled by the warring Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA). The mission found widespread evidence of atrocities between 2016 and 2020, such as attacks on civilians and unbearable conditions in detention centers. Fact-finders believe Libyans and foreign actors are responsible for the violations.
Mission chair Mohamed Auajjar said airstrikes “have killed dozens of families. The destruction of health-related facilities has impacted access to healthcare, and anti-personnel mines left by mercenaries in residential areas have killed and maimed civilians.”
Investigator Tracy Robinson also reported the use of secret prisons by the Libyan state and militia groups against “anyone perceived to be a threat to their interests.” The recorded violence in Libyan prisons likely rises to the level of crimes against humanity due to the scale and “level of organization.” Mission member Chaloka Beyani noted that violence against “migrants, refugees and other vulnerable minorities including LGBTQI individuals” is especially prevalent.
The probe also investigated mass graves found in Tarhuna, Libya, and concluded that the Kaniyat military blindfolded, handcuffed, and shot “perhaps hundreds of civilians.”
Crimes against humanity and war crimes in Libya are also under investigation by the International Criminal Court.