UN calls for joint tribunal over Libyan war crimes

On Nov. 16, the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salamé, suggested to the United Nations Security Council that a joint tribunal should be considered to try individuals suspected of war crimes in Libya. In the speech to the Security Council, the chief expressed his concern that Libya is in a state of lawlessness, with crimes being committed each day. Salamé stated, "If Libyans alone cannot combat impunity for war crimes, it is time for the international community to consider mechanisms that can help them do so; possibly including joint tribunals."

Salamé called on the country to stop its practice of arbitrary detentions in a system with no due process or accountability. He especially called for protections for migrants as they "continue to be subjected to extreme violence, forced labor, extortion and killings and other grave abuses inside and outside official places of detention."

There are plans to hold a national conference on Libya in February, and Salamé stated that he "insist[s] the conference be inclusive for all the Libyans in order to allow the adoption of a true national charter and provide guidelines for the legislation needed to end the transition."

From Jurist, Nov. 17. Used with permission.

Note: Both internal factions and foreign powers have been accused of war crimes in Libya, amid an atmosphere of growing impunity. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of late dictator Moammar Qaddafi, was released from prison by the militia that was holding him in June, over the protests of the International Criminal Court. The International Organization for Migration reports that  "slave markets" have been established in southers Libya, where hundreds of young African migrants have been held.


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