UN calls for accountability in Libya air-strikes


A report published Jan. 27 by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office reveals that at least 53 migrants and refugees were killed in the July 2019 air-strikes on the Tajoua detention center outside Tripoli. Those killed were determined to be citizens of Algeria, Chad, Bangladesh, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia. The report also determined that 87 male migrants and refugees were injured in the attack. The strikes were found to have been conducted by aircraft belonging to a “foreign state” that might have been under the command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) or operated under the command of that foreign state in support of the LNA. The report found that in addition to the internal conflict in Libya, a “parallel situation of international armed conflict” may also exist between outside states supporting the LNA and rival Government of National Accord (GNA).

The report urged Libyan authorities to investigate the air-strikes as well as claims that migrants attempting to flee the facility were shot by troops of the GNA’s Department of Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM). The report also called on Libya to  close all migrant detention centers and ensure that released migrants and refugees promptly receive protection and assistance. It especially called on authorities to give urgent priority to closing detention centers located on or next to compounds controlled by parties to the conflict.

From Jurist, Jan. 28. Used with permission.

Note: Multiple powers have been sporadically carrying out air-strikes on Libyan territory for years. The LNA is commanded by the warlord Khalifa Haftar and opposes the UN-recognized GNA. At talks currently underway in Geneva, the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission, made up of five commanders each from the LNA and GNA, are attempting to negotiate a truce with international mediation. An arms embargo that has been in place for all parties to the Libyan conflict since 2011 has been broken “incessantly,” according to UNSMIL. World powers meeting in Berlin last month pledged to honor the embargo, but the UN says arms have continued to flow into Libya. The GNA is believed to be principally backed by Turkey, while Russia is said to be arming the LNA. Migrant detention centers in Libya are being run by both the GNA and a profusion of unaccountable militias. (Libya Herald, UN News, TRT World, NYT)

Map: CIA