A report published by the World Organisation Against Torture has unveiled that Libyan “law enforcement agents and militias killed at least 581 civilians – both nationals and migrants – between January 2020 and March 2022.”
The report indicates that the number includes people executed in detention facilities or tortured to death, adding that in tandem with the extrajudicial killings of civilians, often accompanied by horrific torture, government agents and armed militias unleash indiscriminate violence with total impunity.
The figures have been compiled by using direct interviews with witnesses and survivors carried out across the country by the Libyan Anti-torture Network (LAN) – a group of civil society organisations.
The report adds that the majority of documented cases – 487 out of 581 – were Libyan civilians, while the remaining 83 victims were migrants or refugees of various nationalities, including Nigerians, Sudanese, and Syrians.
“These numbers come in addition to 11 documented cases from the Tarhouna mass graves, where scores of bodies were dumped in April 2019.” The report says.
The World Organization Against Torture added that the 2021 and 2022 reported cases don’t necessarily mean that killings and torture practices have decreased, but rather they are a result of the difficulties in documenting cases and the Coronavirus pandemic, which limited access to victims and information.
The report called on the United Nations Human Rights Council and its member states to fully support the work of the United Nations Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, with a focus on the political commitment to implementing the recommendations of the fact-finding mission.
It also stressed the need to preserve evidence and make it available for national or international investigations, to protect victims, witnesses and human rights defenders, and to address the high risks of reprisals for anyone who engages with the UN human rights system.
As extrajudicial killings and torture in Libya continue, the World Organization Against Torture called for a reconsideration of the decision to end the mandate of the fact-finding mission in 2023, saying that instead, there should a more robust impunity mechanism.