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UN Panel of Experts unveils military, political, and economic violations in Libya

The United Nations published Tuesday a Panel of Experts (PoE) report on Libya of 548 pages, detailing military, social, political and economic as well violations and corruption evidence.

The report was provided to the Security Council Committee concerning Libya on 18 February 2021 and was considered by the Committee on 5 March 2021.

The PoE report detailed the scale of violations to the Libyan arms embargo, the military attacks and violence, especially since April 2019, when Khalifa Haftar’s militias waged a war on the Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

It also talked about the foreign support for Haftar’s forces – military equipment and mercenaries – referring to Sudanese, Chadian and other active fighters on the ground in Libya in support for Haftar.

“Throughout its mandate, the Panel of Experts on Libya has identified multiple acts that threatened the peace, stability or security of Libya, and increased attacks against State institutions and installations. Civilians in Libya, including migrants and asylum seekers, continue to endure widespread international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations and human rights abuses”. The report adds.

It indicated that the arms embargo remains totally ineffective. For those Member States directly supporting the parties to the conflict, the violations are extensive, blatant and with complete disregard for the sanctions measures.

“Their control of the entire supply chain complicates detection, disruption or interdiction. These two factors make any implementation of the arms embargo more difficult.” The report explains.

Bribery Allegations

Regarding the allegations of bribes being paid to Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) participants, the report said three participants rejected but left the details confidential.

“During the initial round of the United Nations-facilitated Libyan Political
Dialogue Forum held in early November 2020, the Panel established that at least three participants were offered bribes to vote for a specific candidate as Prime Minister. The Forum participants involved in the incident were categorical in their rejection of the bribes”. The report indicated.

Attacks by Haftar’s Militias

The PoE report listed numerous attacks by Haftar’s militias and affiliated forces on civilian targets since April 2019, referring to multiple attacks on Migita Airport, immigrants’ center, military college, schools, hospitals, field hospitals and residential areas.

Mercenaries

The report details the presence of foreign mercenaries on the ground in Libya in support for Haftar’s militias, including Chadian groups, Sudanese groups – such as Sudanese Rapid Support Force (About 700 remaining in Libya) – Syrian mercenaries and Wagner Group – about 2000 fighters since 2018.

ISIS and Al-Qaeda

The report said the threat of ISIS groups in Libya remains moderate, adding “this is because, in part, of the arrest of its leadership, reiterating that ISIS members are mainly in the southern desert cities of Taraghin, Ubari and Ghadduwah.

“They transit the southern borders of Libya with Chad, the Niger and the Sudan in small groups. Their activities are financed primarily by engaging in oil and drugs smuggling. The group continues to maintain sleeper cells in the coastal cities of Sabratah and Tripoli. Bani Walid remains a safe haven for all terrorist groups, including ISIS”. The report reads, saying the threat of Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is dormant.

Tarhuna

The report recounts the atrocities done in Tarhuna during the takeover of the city by Haftar’s militias as the local militias of Al-Kani (Al-Kaniyat) – A.K.A. 9th Brigade – sided with them and waged an internal war on opponents, plus carrying kidnappings for ransom and other retaliatory acts.

“Since June 2020, mass graves have been discovered in Tarhuna and south of Tripoli. Although combatants are identified among the bodies, most of them appear to be civilians. The Government of National Accord has highlighted these discoveries and linked them to reports of multiple abductions, incidents of torture and killings committed in areas held by the Al-Kaniyat”. The report says.

It indicated that Al-Kaniyat has been operating in this region with impunity for several years, adding that the Panel of Experts has established the
responsibility of Abdurahem El Shgagi (also known as Al-Kani) for several cases of abduction and illegal detention leading to murder.

“His victims are being identified as exhumations continue.” The report of the PoE added, listing names of many victims, including women and children.

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