The United Nations has ordered investigation into the alleged human rights abuses in Libya.
The announcement was made on Monday June 22, 2020, following the discovery of mass graves in the city of Tarhuna.
A fact-finding mission to Libya has been established by the United Nations’ top rights body after prosecutors from the International Criminal Court said that mass graves discovered recently may constitute war crimes.
The UN Human Rights Council on Monday adopted by consensus a resolution strongly condemning all acts of violence in Libya and urging UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to dispatch a fact-finding mission to the North African country.
Since 2015, a power struggle has pitted the UN-recognised government in Tripoli against eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, with both sides backed by rival foreign powers.
The UN in a statement expressed concern at reports of “torture, sexual and gender-based violence and harsh conditions in prisons and detention centres.”
“The fact-finding mission experts will document alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties in Libya since the beginning of 2016,” the statement reads.
Tamim Baiou, Libya’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the council shortly before the resolution was adopted by consensus that he hoped it would mark “a turning point for a better future for Libya”.
The council’s 43rd session resumed last week after Switzerland relaxed the measures imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19, and concluded Monday with the Libya resolution.
“We welcome the establishment of the fact-finding mission as an important and long overdue step towards ending the rampant impunity that has for years fuelled by the horrific crimes committed in Libya,” Heba Morayef, head of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa operations, said in a statement.
Hundreds have been killed and some 200,000 people were displaced in Libya since the latest escalation, which began in April 2019, when Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord.