Today, Wednesday, October 6th, the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development (FCHRD) called for the referral of violations against humanity committed by militias supported by the Government of National Accord and Turkey in Libya to the International Criminal Court, which was monitored by the report of the Independent Mission for the Investigation of Facts in Libya issued on Sunday, October 4, 2021. In its work, the mission has focused on the conduct of the parties’ attitude to the armed conflicts that have erupted throughout Libya since 2016 (the beginning of the Government of National Accord). The report is scheduled to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on October 7th.
It is worth noting that the mission was established and sent to Libya after it was approved by Resolution 43/39 of the Human Rights Council (“the High Commissioner”) with a one-year mandate. On 22 August 2020, the High Commissioner announced the appointment of Mr. Mohamed Oujjar (Morocco), Ms. Tracy Robinson (Jamaica), and Mr. Chaloka Beyani (Zambia/UK) as members of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (“the Mission”), with the appointment of Mr. Ogar as Head of Mission.
The report monitored violations by militias loyal to the Brotherhood’s Government of National Accord and Turkey. On June 3, 2020, four consecutive raids by drones killed at least 12 people in the town of Qasr Bin Ghashir, south of Tripoli. The attack is attributed to the Government of National Accord with the assistance of Turkey in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on security and military cooperation; the weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles used in the attack were manufactured in Turkey; The unmanned aerial vehicle used in the attack was also previously seen in the Libyan military air bases that Turkey had access to; Finally, the distance between these bases and Qasr Bin Ghashir is within the range of unmanned vehicles
The mission found evidence of Syrian citizens participating in combat operations in support of the Government of National Accord. Syrian fighters interviewed by the mission stated that they had been recruited by their “Free Syrian Army”, FSA superiors, and that Turkish citizens had actively contributed to their deployment to Libya, and that the motivation behind their deployment in Libya was financial gain.
The evidences also showed that a large number of civilian victims are held in prisons after being abducted without charge, and are subjected to violence such as torture, enforced disappearance and rape by the militias of the Government of National Accord. Investigations have established that the above-mentioned inhuman acts were committed against anyone considered a threat to the interests and beliefs of militias (including religious or moral opinions).
The militias of the Government of National Accord involved in the forced displacement of unarmed civilians from their homes been shown to be engaged in military purposes, with evidence indicating that all of Tawergha’s approximately 40,000 residents have fled attacks against them by Misrata militias. The Tawerghans, who belonged to the ethnic group of the same name, were seen as pro-Gaddafi. The majority of Tawerghans sought refuge in informal settlements around Tripoli and Benghazi. The full return to Tawergha has not yet been achieved, despite the agreement reached between the Tawergha and Misrata communities.
With regard to violations of the rights of migrants, the Mission investigated two incidents that endangered the lives of migrants. In May and July 2019, a detention center for refugees and migrants located next to the Daman Brigade headquarters in Tajoura was bombed twice. Dozens of deaths were reported, and the Daman Brigade and the Government of National Accord are accused of violating their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians under their control from the effects of the attack.
The report highlighted violations of children’s rights by using them in armed conflict, as evidence showed that as of late 2019, Turkey had facilitated the recruitment of Syrian children between the ages of 15 and 18 (which was clear based on their appearance), to fight alongsidethe Government of National Accord against the Libyan National Army in exchange formoney.
The mission considered that the Tarhuna events are among the priorities of the investigation, as several evidence was received regarding the crimes committed in recent years in the town of Tarhuna (southeast of Tripoli), and included widespread kidnappings, systematic torture and mass killings, including targeting women because of their family links. This evidence points to the involvement of members of the Kaniyat family who belonged to a family that ruled the city until recently. The Kaniyat led an armed faction that allied itself with the Tripoli government from 2014 to 2018.
ECHRD, based on all these evidences implicated by the Government of National Accord, Turkey and their militias, demands that an investigation into war crimes be opened at the International Criminal Court for all violations that violate international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law.
ECHRD also urges and supports the extension of the mission’s mandate for another period of time commensurate with the expansion of its work to uncover more facts and violations.