‘Culture of impunity’ blocking Libya transition to peace — UN probe

(Photo: Jordan News)
GENEVA, Switzerland — UN investigators lamented Monday that serious rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, were continuing with impunity across much of Libya, blocking the country’s transition to peace and democracy.اضافة اعلان

In a fresh report, the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya warned that multiple and widespread violations threatened the integrity of the electoral process and efforts to move towards democracy.

“There will be no peace without ending these violations. There will be no democracy without putting an end to impunity,” mission chair Mohamed Auajjar told reporters.

The three-person team pointed to intimidation and harassment of activists, attacks on lawyers and judges, and mass violations against vulnerable groups like migrants, women, and detainees.

The experts had already concluded in their first report last October that acts of murder, torture, imprisonment, rape and enforced disappearance in Libya’s prisons may amount to crimes against humanity.

Since then, “we have uncovered further evidence that the human rights violations experienced by detainees in Libya are widespread, systematic or both,” Auajjar said.

The mission’s second report covers the period since last November, coinciding with increased political turmoil in the lead-up to and aftermath of the postponement of hoped-for elections.

Libya was meant to hold elections last December, as part of a UN-guided peace process aiming to draw a line under a complex conflict that dates back to the 2011 revolt that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

But as political factions wrangled over the legal basis and the eligibility of controversial candidates, the polls were postponed indefinitely.


Auajjar said the fact-finding mission, which was created by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020, would not comment on political developments in the country.

However, the team had focused heavily on violations and crimes “that can especially hamper Libya’s transition to peace, democracy and the rule of law,” he said.

“In our view, the culture of impunity that is prevailing in different parts of Libya is impeding that transition.”

The experts said they had received “alarming reports of attacks on civil society organizations and activists in Libya.”

The report decried a “public campaign denigrating the work of civil society and a shrinking civic space,” pointing to how “activists are routinely threatened online ... and live under the constant fear of abduction, arrest and arbitrary detention.”

And “chilling video recordings of activists ‘confessions’ were posted” on the Tripoli Internal Security Facebook page, it said.

“The mission fears that such ‘confessions’ may have been obtained under duress and are intended to terrorize activists.”

The experts highlighted impunity for attacks against women politicians, including for the enforced disappearance of parliamentarian Seham Sergiwa in 2019, and the 2020 killing of outspoken lawyer and activist Hanan Al-Barassi.

This has had a chilling effect on women eager to participate in politics in Libya, the experts said.

“We see the shrinking civic space,” mission member Tracy Robinson told reporters.

And especially, she said, “we see shrinking numbers of women engaged in government.”

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