UN releases evidence of mass graves in Tarhuna, Libya
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, CC-BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
UN releases evidence of mass graves in Tarhuna, Libya

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Monday released a report containing evidence of mass graves in the Libyan city of Tarhuna. The report estimates there could be as many as 100 undiscovered mass graves in the city.

It claims that the al-Kaniyat militia, in power in Tarhuna from 2016 to 2020, is responsible for mass killings. The militia is alleged to have used brutal torture methods on residents including women, children, the infirm, and the disabled.

The report graphically details these and other human rights violations by the militia, which has since been driven out of Tarhuna. UNSMIL calls on Libyan authorities to “[e]stablish a Special Tribunal for Tarhuna to prosecute international crimes” and “[c]ontinue searching for the missing and for remaining mass graves…”

The report concluded that major human rights laws have been broken, saying:

The Mission finds reasonable grounds to believe that the crimes against humanity of extermination, imprisonment, torture, persecution and enforced disappearance were committed by members of the al-Kaniyat militia against a defined population in Tarhuna since they asserted control over the town until June 2020. These crimes were committed in a widespread manner, whereby the al-Kaniyat systematically targeted and eliminated all actual and perceived opposition with total impunity.

The most recent report will now be sent to the UN Human Rights Council for further action. Currently the Mission’s mandate will end on July 31st, however a resolution to extend it’s mandate by nine months is before the UN.