Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Inside Aleppo: 'Feels like prison'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The Legacy of Shimon Peres, The Battle of Aleppo (Part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump-Clinton Debate, Colombia Peace Deal, Death of the BlackBerry (Part 2)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Backstage at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FASHION

Paris Fashion Week: Saint Laurent, Lanvin, present new designers

Read more

#THE 51%

Online and proud: Iranian women use social media in a campaign for equality

Read more

#TECH 24

Say hello to Pepper!

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: The final days of Colombia’s FARC guerilla

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Abkhazia, the country that (almost) doesn't exist

Read more

Africa

Amnesty report says Libyan militias are 'out of control'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-16

The Libyan militias who spearheaded the country's revolution are now abusing their authority, torturing detainees and forcing communities to flee their homes, according to a report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

REUTERS - Libya’s aspirations to replace Muammar Gaddafi’s repressive rule with a just, democratic state are being undermined by armed militias who trample on human rights and are outside the government’s control, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The militias spearheaded the rebellion that ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule but they have so far refused to disband. With their heavily armed units patrolling the streets, they have more power on the ground than Libya’s official rulers.

Amnesty said in a report that its researchers had documented dozens of cases of militias committing war crimes, torturing detainees and forcing whole communities to flee their homes.

It said Libya’s interim leadership, the National Transitional Council (NTC), had to date failed to assert its authority over the militias by investigating the abuses.

“Militias in Libya are largely out of control and the blanket impunity they enjoy only encourages further abuses and perpetuates instability and insecurity,” said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera.

“A year ago Libyans risked their lives to demand justice. Today their hopes are being jeopardized by lawless armed militias who trample human rights with impunity.”

“It is imperative that the Libyan authorities firmly demonstrate their commitment to turning the page on decades of systematic violations by reining in the militias,” Rovera said in a statement.

The NTC’s ability to deal with the militias is limited because, as an unelected caretaker administration still trying to build a national police force and army, it is too weak to try to crack down.

The militia leaders profess loyalty to the NTC, but analysts say that they are using their military might as a bargaining chip to ensure they get the influence they believe they deserve in the new Libya.

ON THE BLOGS

In an interview with Reuters at the weekend, NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said a programme to integrate the militias into national security forces was making progress, though it was taking longer than planned.

Abdel Jalil also said that a committee had been set up to investigate reports that militias were torturing detainees, and that communities forced from their homes by the militias would be allowed to return home eventually.

In its report, Amnesty said it had collected evidence of widespread torture in militia-run detention centres. It said in one case its researcher witnessed armed militia members kicking an older detainee as he crouched against a wall.

The report said at least 12 detainees died from the abuse since September last year. Their bodies were covered in bruises and some had their fingernails pulled out, it said.

Amnesty said dark-skinned Libyans and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa were targeted by militia men because they were suspected of having fought for Gaddafi during the conflict.

The mostly dark-skinned residents of Tawerhga, east of Tripoli, had to flee their homes when militias from the nearby city of Misrata swept in. They were seeking revenge for what they perceived as Tawerhga’s support for Gaddafi.
 

Date created : 2012-02-16

  • LIBYA - HUMAN RIGHTS

    Amnesty says pro-Gaddafi detainees tortured

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Gaddafi loyalists, govt militia clash in Bani Walid

    Read more

COMMENT(S)