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Reuters: Russia halts blacklisting of Al-Kaniyat militia for human rights violations in Libya

Russia stopped Friday a UN Security Council committee from blacklisting the Libyan pro-Haftar Al-Kaniyat militia group and its leader for human rights abuses because it said it wanted to see more evidence first that they had killed civilians. 

The United States and Germany proposed that the Security Council’s 15-member Libya sanctions committee impose an asset freeze and travel ban on Al-Kaniyat militia and its leader Mohammed Al-Kani.

Such a move has to be agreed by consensus, but Russia said it could not approve, saying its support in the future is possible, but conditioned by provision of an irrefutable evidence of their involvement in killing of civilian populations; a Russian diplomat told his Security Council colleagues in a note seen by Reuters. 

According to Reuters, the United States and Germany wrote in their sanctions proposal that international human rights groups and the UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, have “received reports of hundreds of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Al-Kaniyat militia against private individuals, state officials, captured fighters, and civil society activists in Tarhouna.”

“Under Mohammed Al-Kani’s leadership, Al-Kaniyat militia has reportedly carried out enforced disappearances, torture, and killings. In addition, UNSMIL verified numerous summary executions at Tarhouna Prison conducted by the al-Kaniyat militia on September 13, 2019,” the proposal read.

Since the ouster of Al-Kaniyat, Haftar’s militias and Russian Wagner Group mercenaries from Tarhunah in last summer, tens of mass graves have been unearthed by Libyan authorities under the Government of National Accord, showing the brutality of the inhumane crimes committed by Al-Kaniyat militia in their own city. All the mass graves have been documented by UNSMIL, International Criminal Court and other international organizations.

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