Amnesty International says found evidence of war crimes in Tripoli battle that need international investigation
Amnesty International said Wednesday that six weeks on, the offensive to take over Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar’s forces has resulted in unlawful attacks that could amount to war crimes which must be investigated by international prosecutors, revealing evidence of indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas in the Libyan capital.
Amnesty International has gathered witness testimony and analysed satellite imagery, which indicates that densely populated residential areas in the Abu Salim district of Tripoli were indiscriminately attacked with rockets during an episode of intense fighting between 15-17 April. It has also documented attacks that have placed the lives of hundreds of refugees and migrants at risk.
“As the battle for Tripoli unfolds, the warring parties have displayed a shameful disregard for civilian safety and international humanitarian law by carrying out indiscriminate attacks on residential neighbourhoods. Such reckless attacks could have devastating consequences for civilians and strengthen the need for the International Criminal Court to expand its investigations into possible war crimes by all sides in Libya’s conflict. Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian property, and indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians amount to war crimes. All sides have an absolute obligation under international law to protect civilian lives and to clearly distinguish between civilians and fighters during their attacks.” Said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
Amnesty International added that in addition to violations committed during the conduct of hostilities the UN has reported an increase in arbitrary detention, abductions, kidnapping and enforced disappearance since the outbreak of fighting in and around Tripoli.
“The rise in reports of abductions and arbitrary arrests by both sides since the Tripoli offensive began is deeply alarming. No one should be targeted with abduction or arbitrary arrest solely on the basis of their background or political affiliations,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.
“The relentless cycle of mounting abuses means the need is greater than ever for states to fully implement the UN arms embargo on Libya. A meaningful accountability system must be set up to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law by all warring parties and hold those responsible to account.” She added.