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Human rights and rule of law should guide the National Transitional Council and the future interim authorities in Libya

25 October 2011

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Libya called on Libyan authorities to ensure that the new State is built on a strong foundation of human rights and the rule of law.

The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Libya, in its report to the Human Rights Council in June 2011 recorded the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Gaddafi regime.

“The dawn of a new era provides an opportunity for the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the future interim Government in Libya to make a break from that past by establishing laws and reconstructing state institutions based on respect for human rights and the rule of law,” said Judge Philippe Kirsch, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry.

“Building a new state on a strong foundation of human rights will address the aspirations of the Libyan people who struggled during the last 42 years against injustice and oppression,” added Judge Kirsch.

In its public pronouncements, including during the interactive dialogue on Libya at the Human Rights Council meeting in September 2011, the (NTC) expressed a commitment to human rights. It is now the time to put that commitment into action, which can commence with respect for the rights of all detainees.

“It is extremely important that the NTC and all armed groups in Libya ensure that all detainees under their control, irrespective of their affiliations, are treated with due respect for their human rights in accordance with international standards,” said Judge Kirsch. “In particular, I would urge all armed forces to refrain from revenge killings and arbitrary repression of Libyans and foreigners”.

As the Commission of Inquiry continues its investigations into violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Libya, it hopes to record the steps taken by the NTC and the future interim authorities to prevent violations and abuses of human rights.

The Commission of Inquiry urges the NTC and the future interim authorities to undertake independent, impartial and transparent investigations into all allegations of violations of the rights of detainees in their custody, and if they deem it necessary, recommends that they seek the support of the international community.

“The Commission is encouraged by recent public announcements by NTC leaders that they will undertake investigations into the deaths of some of the detainees,” said Judge Kirsch.

BACKGROUND

The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Libya was established by the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution S 15/1 of 25 February 2011. The Human Rights Council requested the Commission to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to ensuring that those individuals responsible are held accountable.

The Commissioners are Judge Philippe Kirsch (Chair), Prof. Cherif M. Bassiouni and Ms Asma Khader. The Commission presented its first report to the Human Rights Council in June 2011 (A/HRC/17/44). The Human Rights Council extended the mandate of the Commission (resolution A/HRC/17/L.3) and requested it to present an oral update in September 2011 and its final report in March 2012.

For media requests please contact:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, Human Rights Council Branch: +41 22 917 9711 or rgomez@ohchr.org