Amnesty: Libyan War Threatens Spiral of Abuses

Posted September 12th, 2011 at 10:01 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International says both sides in the Libyan conflict have committed war crimes and the country risks descending into a bloody cycle of attacks and reprisals unless the interim government establishes order.

In a report released Tuesday, the London-based rights group said that while forces loyal to former leader Moammar Gadhafi committed widespread war crimes, provisional authority fighters also carried out abuses that in some cases violate international law.

The 107-page report mainly details crimes committed by Gadhafi loyalists, including the mass killing of prisoners, torture, arbitrary detention and widespread abduction – mostly against civilians.

But it said the abuses of anti-Gadhafi forces are not insignificant.

Amnesty documented a brutal “settling of scores” by some provisional authority forces when loyalist fighters were ejected from eastern Libya – including lynchings of pro-Gadhafi soldiers and suspected mercenaries after capture.

The rights group said both sides stirred up racism and xenophobia, causing sub-Saharan Africans to be increasingly attacked, robbed and abused by ordinary Libyans. It said officials from the interim National Transitional Council have done little to correct false assumptions that sub-Saharan Africans are mercenaries.

The report was compiled by an Amnesty team after visits to Libya between February and May, and covers events up to late July.