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International Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in Libya releases report

01 June 2011

1 June 2011

The International Commission of Inquiry* established to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya submitted its report to the Human Rights Council today. The Council is scheduled to consider the report on Monday, 6 June 2011. (The report is available on the Council webpage: ).

The Commission met with the Government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the National Transitional Council, civil society and individuals throughout the country. It met with over 350 people during its field missions, including with 113 doctors and other medical staff, patients and members of their families in ten hospitals, with 30 people detained in two locations in the country (Tripoli and Benghazi) and with 148 people displaced either within the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or in transit points or refugee camps outside it.

The Commission reviewed all allegations raised in connection with issues arising under its mandate. It studied a large number of reports, submissions and other documentation either researched of its own initiative or provided by others, amounting to more than 5,000 pages of documents, more than 580 videos and over 2,200 photographs.

The Commission evaluated the numerous allegations of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law such as excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture, interferences with freedom of expression, sexual violence, attacks on civilians including medical personnel and journalists, and attacks on civilian objects such as medical facilities and humanitarian objects, and migrant workers. It also examined other violations such as the use of mercenaries, the use of child soldiers and of prohibited weapons.

Based on the information received during its field visits, including Tripoli and Benghazi, and further information from its investigations, the Commission has identified in its report a range of serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law. In accordance with its mandate to look also at crimes committed in Libya, the Commission has also reached the conclusion that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed by the Government forces of Libya. The Commission received fewer reports of facts which would amount to the commission of international crimes by opposition forces, however, it did find some acts which would constitute war crimes.

The Commission expressed its concerns with regard to these violations to both sides of the conflict, urging each to fully implement international human rights and international humanitarian law.

Given the gravity and complexity of the situation on the ground, the Commission considers important that the Council remains seized of the human rights situation in Libya.

A press conference with the Commission will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, 6 June in Press Room III, at Palais des Nations.

(*)The Members of the Commission of Inquiry are:

Cherif Bassiouni (Egypt) served as Chair of the Commission. Professor Emeritus of Law at DePaul University, Chicago, he is a United Nations war crimes expert. He has served the United Nations in a number of capacities, including as co-chair of the Committee of Experts to draft the Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture (1977); chairman of the Security Council's Commission to Investigate War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia (1992-1994); vice-chairman of the General Assembly's Ad Hoc and Preparatory Committees on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995 and 1998); chairman of the Drafting Committee of the 1998 Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court; independent expert for the Commission on Human Rights on The Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998-2000); and independent expert for the Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan (2004-2006).

Asma Khader (Jordan) is a lawyer by training. She is also well known as a human rights advocate. She founded Mizan Law Group for Human Rights in Jordan, the Jordanian branch of the International Commission of Jurists, in 1998, and she serves on the executive committee of the International Commission of Jurists. She has worked on many international commissions and civil rights organizations; she was a founding member of the Arab Association for Human Rights, a member of the Royal Jordanian Committee for Human Rights; and president of the Jordanian Women’s Union from 1992 until 1996. In 1998 she founded Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan, an international organization to help women in the Muslim world learn technology and access information. In October 2003, she was appointed a minister without portfolio and spokesperson for the Jordanian government. Khader served as minister in 2003 and 2004, then as minister of culture in 2004 and 2005. Her tenure as government spokesperson lasted from 2003 to 2005.

Philippe Kirsch (Canada) is a Canadian lawyer who served as a judge of the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2009 and was the court's first president. He had been extensively involved in the establishment of the Court, as chairman of the Committee of the Whole of the 1998 Rome Conference and subsequently of the ICC Preparatory Commission. Kirsch is member of the Bar of the Province of Quebec and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988. He has extensive experience in public international law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Kirsch served as Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the International Conference on the Problem of War Victims (1993) and Chairman of the Drafting Committee at the 26th and 27th International Conferences of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (1995, 1999). He was Chairman of the Canadian National Committee on Humanitarian Law (1998 - 1999) and member of the Group of International Advisers to the International Committee of the Red Cross (2000 - 2003). He chaired proceedings in the development of a number of treaty-making instruments against various acts of terrorism such as suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation; unlawful acts of violence at airports serving international civil aviation; terrorist bombings, financing of terrorism, as well as a Convention for the safety and security of UN and associated personnel."

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