Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The Commission of Inquiry on Libya is a three-member panel tasked by the United Nations with probing human rights violations committed during the Libyan conflict. The Commission was set up by the UN Human Rights Council in February to probe serious violations committed in Libya, where pro-Government forces and rebels had fought for months after a pro-democracy movement emerged at the start of the year.
Judge Philippe Kirsch, a former president of the International Criminal Court, serves as the commission’s chairperson. He said that the Commission was “pleased to receive assurances of the Government’s continued commitment to human rights," and "encouraged by the initial steps the Government is taking to address the human rights violations that occurred during the recent conflict.” The team had just concluded the first part of its investigations, having visited the capital, Tripoli, from 31 November to 16 December.
During the visit, the panel met with the Chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and other senior officials in the Government, as well as with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and interviewed detainees at Matiga detention facility. The panel and investigators also visited a site where alleged extrajudicial killings were committed by forces loyal to former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi in Tripoli and received testimony about other serious violations. The commission will return to Libya next month to continue its investigations in Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Bani Walid, Brega, Misratah, Nalut, Sirte, Yefren and Zintan.
The panel, which also comprises Egyptian jurist and war crimes expert Professor Cherif Bassiouni (a law professor at the DePaul Univeristy College of Law in Chicago) and Jordanian-Palestinian lawyer Asma Khader, is scheduled to present its final report to the Geneva-based Council in March 2012. In a report presented in June, the commission said that both Government forces and the opposition have committed war crimes during the weeks of fighting following the uprising.
(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)