NATO has failed to acknowledge civilian deaths in Libya: HRW Jaclyn Belczyk at 10:17 AM ET
[JURIST] The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official website] should acknowledge civilian casualties from air strikes in Libya and investigate possible unlawful attacks [press release], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Monday. In a 76-page report [text, PDF], "Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO's Air Campaign in Libya," HRW examined eight NATO air strikes which resulted in 72 civilian deaths, claiming that "the absence of a clear military target at seven of the eight sites Human Rights Watch visited raises concerns of possible laws-of-war violations that should be investigated." HRW urged NATO to:
Conduct transparent and impartial investigations into credible allegations of laws-of-war violations during NATO's air war in Libya [and] Make public the findings and include recommendations for disciplinary measures or criminal prosecutions where violations are found.
Allegations of war crimes and human rights violations resulting from the Libya conflict [JURIST backgrounder] have been widespread. In March Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] issued a similar report claiming that NATO failed to investigate [JURIST report] the Libyan civilians killed by air strikes which assisted in the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive]. In February AI released a report accusing the NTC of allowing the abuse and torture [JURIST report] of Gaddafi supporters by unofficial militias. In January AI reported the recent deaths of several Libyan detainees who were apparently tortured while in custody [JURIST report]. The deaths came amid allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of detainees accused of being pro-Gaddafi loyalists and fighters during the Libyan conflict last year. In October of last year AI alleged that Libyan forces arrested nearly 2,500 people who face ongoing torture and detainment [JURIST report] without formal charges. In September the NTC vowed to investigate allegations of human rights abuses after AI published a report [JURIST report] alleging that both sides of the Libya conflict are responsible for human rights abuses and warning the NTC to act quickly to investigate these allegations.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.