Experts: Regional parties funded mercenaries in Libya and breached the UN weapons embargo

During a symposium organized by the Euro-Central Observatory for Human Rights, experts voiced their opinions that regional states played a role in the war crimes and crimes against humanity that took place in Libya

The symposium was titled Impunity in Libya and the Role of the European Union and the United Nations and took place online. [Photo: AP]

During a symposium organized by the Euro-Central Observatory for Human Rights on transitional justice and impunity in Libya, participating experts stated that war crimes and crimes against humanity will have a long-term effect on Libya.

Timothy Reid, former Senior Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Adviser to the UN Support Mission in Libya, stated that “There have been a number of grave and disturbing violations in the Libyan conflict,” he added, adding that “the property of Libyan civilians has been seized and used by the gunmen.” Several mercenary organizations have arrived in Libya… We also have to deal with the issue of interfering with the function of the courts and tribes.”

He stated that certain countries, including the United Arab Emirates and France, have equipped and funded Libyan mercenaries and organizations. “One area that does not get much attention is the involvement of regional players like as France, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,” he said, adding that “several European nations are involved in human trafficking in Libya, claiming to prevent migrants from reaching their beaches.”

“In terms of responsibility,” he concluded, “the members of the Security Council are pursuing their interests, such as the sale of weapons.”

According to Elise Fleischer, senior program officer of Lawyers for Justice in Libya, “the human rights repercussions of breaching the weapons embargo have led to the targeting of civilian infrastructures, such as the bombardment of immigration detention centres, which has murdered 52 migrants.” “The war has resulted in the displacement of people, particularly around Tripoli and the conflict-affected regions.”

She went on to discuss “the effect of the war on human rights advocates, particularly women,” highlighting the European Union’s ambiguous attitude to Libya. It came to the conclusion that “violation of the weapons embargo is widely documented and has had different repercussions, and the European Union is one of the most prominent violators of the arms embargo in Libya.”

The symposium, titled “Impunity in Libya and the Role of the European Union and the United Nations,” was attended by international experts, addressed possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of the ongoing civil war, such as mass graves, landmines, torture, and murder, as well as the responsibility of the warring parties and their regional and international allies.

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