Written by Alrassed Alliby Editor
23 Apr 2013 8:59 pm
the darker side of the Libyan Revolution
All civilians deserve all protection, but some civilians deserve more protection than others, or so things look like today in Libya.
Two years ago the Security Council of the United Nations authorized a military operation to NATO to protect civilians who have been subjected to attacks by Muammar Gaddafi's forces; this is the process that led to the fall of Gaddafi.
Today, after the fighting stops, those who are believed they might have supported Gaddafi are under threat, whether it's right or wrong. As thousands of women and children have been displaced from their homes, and now live in camps where they are often harassed; while men are detained, tortured and killed. These are people who need protection, but the countries that intervene two years ago did not do almost anything about this.
The most urgent of these cases are the former residents of Tawergha, which have reached pre-war about 42 thousand people. Tawergha residents in the past Received financial and political support by Gaddafi, and the town has become a theater of military operations during the war in 2011 as many of those joined in the fighting to Gaddaf’s side.
It was claimed that some of these men intentionally commit atrocities during the war in the city of Misrata, as it suffered for two months from the cruel blockade when hundreds of civilians have been killed. The people of Misrata said that the fighters from Tawergha committed acts of murder and rape in their city and that it is time for revenge.
Here is revenge taken by armed groups opposed to Gaddafi that belong to Misrata, it forced all residents of Tawergha to get out of town. And with the spread of the people of Tawergha across Libya occurred some torture and murder. And the captured image via satellite analyzed by Human Rights Watch, supported what we've seen on the ground; from systematic destruction of residential, commercial and industrial buildings after the fighting has stopped, in an apparent attempt to prevent their return.
The people of Misrata are demanding the justice to what they have suffered from crimes, which they deserve. But justice is not going to happen by punishing the entire human for crimes committed by few, it is a collective punishment.
Despite the Security Council of the United Nations and its members trying to protect Libyan civilians, while Gaddafi was representing the enemy, they did not take serious measures against revenge attacks facing the people of Tawergha and other displaced communities in Libya today, which are about sixty thousand people according to the United Nations Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR).
Although the international legal obligations suggested that the prevention of such violations is a duty. The violations against the people of Tawergha are widespread, systematized, and organized enough to be considered as crimes against humanity. The United Nations Commission to investigate this affair in Libya a year ago noted and pointed to that.
The Libyan government has a responsibility to protect its people from such serious crimes, and hold the perpetrators responsible for their crimes. Also lays on the Security Council the responsibility to help Libya in achieving those goals.
As a minimum, the Security Council should ask Libya to regularly submit reports about steps they have taken to protect persons who are exposed to the displacement and facilitate their return. It will also be a must on the United Nations to impose sanctions on individuals responsible.
The International Criminal Court could investigate such crimes as the delegation in Libya still valid. Leaders of armed groups and senior officials in Misrata will have full responsibility for issuing commands for such crimes or failing to prevent and to punish the aggressors.
The Libyan government says it does not condone such crimes and they want it to stop happening. Was issued by the Prime Minister Ali Zidan strong statements about what is happening of violations by many of the armed groups in Libya, which does not have any control over their actions. As this does not stop him from the responsibility to do what is more in favor of Libyan citizens who suffer from the wrath of the victorious rebels, as it does not exempt the Security Council of the responsibility for the protection of civilians all times, whether it is politically easy or not.
The failure to provide protection against a bunch of the worst crimes topples the government credibility as it previously intervened in Libya to protect civilians. Instead, the government that support the transition in Libya has to push them at the time they provide the appropriate assistance, to ensure the displaced people will be able to return safely to their homes and have a share of the privileges that the Libyan popular uprising and international military intervention have came with.
Fred Abraham special adviser to Human Rights Watch