TRIPOLI – Ten years after the uprising broke out to oust Muammar Gaddafi, Libya still struggles with armed groups, impunity and foreign militias, the Amnesty International has said.
“A decade after the overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi, justice has yet to be delivered to victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and abductions committed by militias and armed groups,” Amnesty said on a statement on the eve of the anniversary.
“Libyan authorities have promoted and legitimized leaders of militias that have been responsible for heinous acts of abuse, instead of ensuring accountability and redress for violations committed both since al-Gaddafi’s fall and under his rule,” the statement read.
Gaddafi turned to his repressive apparatus against the uprising that first started in Benghazi as part of the so-called Arab Spring, but the NATO intervention in March 2011 shifting the balance in favor of the rebels.
The rebels then controlled Tripoli by August, three months before capturing and killing al-Gaddafi in his home-town, Sirte.
Since then, Libya has been a failed state and stage for chaos and civil war that has claimed over 8,000 lives.
The most recent erupted between the United Nations-backed, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and the troops of Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar between April 2019 and June 2020.
Last week, the UN-created Libyan Political Dialogue Forum selected a new president, two vice-presidents and a prime minister who should form a new government tasked with holding parliamentary elections scheduled for December.
“Successive Libyan governments have promised to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights, but each has failed to rein in perpetrators,” Amnesty said in the statement.
“After a decade, accountability and justice in Libya were sacrificed in the name of peace and stability. Neither were achieved,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Instead, those responsible for violations have enjoyed impunity and have even been integrated into state institutions and treated with deference,” she added.
She urged “parties to the conflict in Libya and the incoming unity government to ensure that those suspected of committing crimes under international law are not appointed to positions where they can continue to commit abuses and entrench impunity.”
“Individuals who have been accused of war crimes should be suspended from positions of authority pending the outcome of independent, effective investigations,” she added.