Fact-Finding Mission: Some third states, foreign fighters and mercenaries committed war crimes in Libya
The Chair of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Libya, Mohamed Auajjar, told the UN Human Rights Council that the Mission's investigations had established that all parties to the conflict in Libya since 2016, including third States, foreign fighters and mercenaries, have violated international humanitarian law (IHL), in particular the principles of proportionality and distinction, and some have also committed war crimes, referring to the Tarhouna mass graves committed by pro-Haftar Al-Kaniyat militias.
Auajjar said airstrikes had killed dozens of families and the destruction of health-related facilities had impacted access to healthcare and anti-personnel mines left by mercenaries in residential areas had killed and maimed civilians.
From April 2019 to June 2020, Haftar's forces backed by Russian Wagner Group, Janjaweed and Chadian mercenaries led an offensive against the then legitimate government in Tripoli and western region cities, killing several civilians and displacing thousands others.
"Arbitrary detention in secret prisons and unbearable conditions of detention were also widely used by the State and militias against anyone perceived to be a threat to their interests or views. Individuals and groups - both Libyans and foreign actors - had been identified and may bear responsibility for the violations, abuses and crimes committed in Libya since 2016." The report said.
It added, according to Auajjar, that the confidential list would remain so, until the need arose for its publication or sharing with other accountability mechanisms, saying the extension of the mandate for another year would allow the Mission to complement the work undertaken."
It also said that the extension of the mandate for another year would also give the Mission the opportunity to examine allegations of widespread and systematic abuses in the town of Tarhouna, in the south of Tripoli, where hundreds of bodies have been found in mass graves after the defeat of Al-Kaniyat militias who used to rule the city under the command of Khalifa Haftar.
Meanwhile, the Turkish ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Sadik Arslan, criticized "allegations" of the report against Turkey, saying at the Human Rights Council 48th session meeting Thursday that Turkey had ordered the formation of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission after the discovery of Tarhouna mass graves.
Arslan said Turkey had provided critical contributions to Libya and intervened in the country upon an official request from the legitimate government after the political process was in danger, warning that the report "isn't comprehensive enough as it hasn't mentioned war crimes and human rights abuses committed in public in Libya.