UN says Libya forces involved in war crimes
Published 02/06/2011 | 05:00
A UN panel said yesterday that Libyan government forces have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, apparently as a result of orders given by Gaddafi and other senior officials.
The UN investigators said they have received estimates of 10,000-15,000 people killed since February, and added there is evidence that opposition forces also committed "some acts which would constitute war crimes".
The three-member panel based its finds on interviews with 350 people in government and rebel-held parts of Libya, as well as in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
It concluded that government forces committed murder, torture and sexual abuses "as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population" before and during the conflict that started in February.
"Such acts fall within the meaning of 'crimes against humanity'," the panel said. It also found "many serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by government forces amounting to 'war crimes'."
The panel's 92-page report, commissioned in February by the UN Human Rights Council, also found that rebel forces committed "some acts which would constitute war crimes".
However, it said: "The commission is not of the view that the violations committed by the opposition armed forces were part of any 'widespread or systematic attack' against civilians such as to amount to crimes against humanity".
Last month, the International Criminal Court asked judges to issue arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam Gaddafi and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi, accusing them of committing crimes against humanity.