United Nations A/hrc/19/68

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Factual findings

  • The Commission identified two primary patterns of sexual violence. Sexual violence was committed mainly against women by Qadhafi forces or loyalists. The victims were either assaulted in their homes or abducted, blindfolded, and assaulted elsewhere. These acts involved multiple armed men who verbally insulted, beat, and violently raped the victims. Most were specifically targeted because of their allegiance to the thuwar or perceived allegiance, while others were assaulted for no known or apparent reason. The majority of victims were called “rats” or “dogs” by perpetrators from the Qadhafi forces. Of those specifically targeted for being part of the thuwar, rape appeared to be used as a means to punish, terrorize, or send a message to the victim and to others who supported the revolution.

  • Sexual violence was also used by Qadhafi forces in the detention centres upon males and females who supported the opposition. It was used as a means to extract information during an interrogation, as well as to humiliate, dehumanize, and punish. The methods of sexual violence and torture consisted of acts of: vaginal rape, sodomy, penetration by bottles, sticks or ammunition, electrocution of genitals by live wires, and burning of genitals and breasts by cigarettes.

  • Qadhafi forces predominantly committed acts of sexual violence upon the detainees, however, there are two allegations of the thuwar committing acts of sexual violence upon detainees.

      1. Qadhafi forces

  • The Commission conducted seven interviews with victims and has considered four statements taken by other groups. Based on their specific allegations, at least three victims appear to have been purposefully chosen to serve as an example to others and raped for their known pro-thuwar activity or that of their family.753

  • The Commission met with a ten year old boy who had accompanied his father to a revolutionary demonstration in February 2011.754 The boy told the Commission that he was approached near his house by two young men who recognized him, and forced him at knifepoint to walk to a deserted area. One man sodomized him before the boy was able to scream and escape. He was called a “rat” by the men and told he was “being punished for being a rat. People from the East are dogs…you do not love Qadhafi and the only thing you deserve is death.” The boy was told that they would do the same to his sister. The father was arrested later the same month, detained, and reportedly tortured in the prison.

  • A young woman told the Commission that she had been abducted by Qadhafi forces who stormed into her home. Armed men blindfolded her and drove her to an unknown building where she was repeatedly raped and sodomized on a mattress on the floor by four men over three days.755 They penetrated her with sticks and 14.5mm cartridges. The men accused her of supporting the thuwar and accused her father of participating in demonstrations. Before raping her, the men said, “we will teach the rats a lesson.” One of the men recorded some of the sexual acts on his cell phone. Afterwards, she was dumped on a road where she was picked up and brought to a hospital. In the hospital she said she was visited by Qadhafi forces who coerced her to say that she had been raped by the thuwar instead. She said she was electrocuted on her genitals, burned with cigarettes, and beaten while in the hospital. They told her she was suffering for her parents’ support of the revolution. The victim has fled the country and has told the Commission she is too afraid to return because the perpetrators still live in her area.

  • The Commission met with another woman who was a thuwar activist who had distributed anti-Qadhafi brochures during the conflict.756 She said she was followed one day while in her car and stopped by three Qadhafi soldiers with guns. She was blindfolded and driven to an office in an unknown location where she was beaten with sticks and hit over the head with the butt of an AK-47. They removed her clothes and three men repeatedly raped her for two to three hours. She said she was kept in the office for three days while being questioned about her political activity. She was released back onto a street, and she subsequently fled the country.

  • Another four allegations took place when the victims were travelling alone, and were raped by Qadhafi forces.757 While in several cases the women were referred to as “rats” by the perpetrators, these appear to be crimes of opportunity and the victims not specifically targeted for their political association.

  • The Commission spoke with one woman who said she was abducted stepping outside her home by two Qadhafi soldiers who accused her of being “a rat trying to escape.”758 She said she felt vulnerable being home alone and had stepped out to visit a relative when she was confronted by the soldiers. They blindfolded her and drove her to an unknown place where she was drugged, beaten, and repeatedly raped by four men over three days. The woman was eventually released on a deserted street in her underwear. She said she soon contracted a sexually transmitted disease and became pregnant due to the rapes.

  • Another woman said she was videotaping Qadhafi soldiers looting on the street when she was spotted by the soldiers at her window.759 Three of the men with guns immediately broke into her home, beat her, and all three raped her, two at the same time. After the rapes, the woman said her husband would not speak to her. Her brother-in-law told her, “either you commit suicide, we will kill you and make it look like suicide, or an accident will happen…” She and her husband have since left Libya.

  • In another apparent opportunistic case, a woman told the Commission she was abducted by four armed military men while walking to the supermarket one morning and driven to an unfinished house where two other men waited.760 She was raped by all six men and then released. There is no evidence to suggest why they assaulted her, and she believed they had been drinking or using drugs. She has never told her family about the attack.

  • The Commission met with a number of local doctors who have treated women for injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and terminations. In Al Zawiyah, one doctor said she has been able to confirm 29 cases of rape based on medical examinations.761 The Commission met with one doctor in Misrata who has treated several victims of rape and has set up a helpline for victims to call in and receive help.762 She estimates there were about 200 cases of rape in Misrata alone, including women and men in detention, based on those she has treated and who called the helpline. Most of the doctors the Commission spoke with said patients did not admit to being raped, but due to their demeanor and the nature of the injuries, they believed that they had been. The Commission has heard from numerous sources that most victims would seek treatment outside of Libya or privately in order to remain anonymous.

  • The Commission also met with an organization which has developed a programme to marry victims of rape with volunteer men, as well as to marry men disabled from the conflict with volunteer women.763 The organization has registered 50 women to be married in Tripoli, Al Zawiyah and Misrata.

  • The Commission interviewed five perpetrators accused of raping men or women during the conflict. These were perpetrators who were already detained and accused by thuwar of rape. Three had supposedly confessed to raping men and women. One young man stated he had been ordered to rape three young women by his commander.764 Another man was charged with sodomizing three young men.765 While these men provided some specific details, the Commission believes that there is a strong possibility that the confessions were made only after being tortured in detention and are therefore unreliable.766 The Commission has received other reports of torture inside thuwar detention centres (see chap. III, sect. D). The Commission received one interview of a perpetrator conducted by a local organization which detailed five different rapes over five nights committed by him and other military officers. The perpetrator described in detail how members of his unit, including the commanding officer, entered homes in the middle of the night using a ruse, and raped all the girls and women, with the family present, in the house. While the detail is compelling, the same caveat to coerced confessions applies as above.

  • The Commission met with a group from Misrata who spoke about armed soldiers and volunteers from the Khamis Brigade entering houses at night and taking men, women, and children away.767 Although none would give details, they said they knew of women and girls who were raped, either in their homes or taken elsewhere and raped, especially in the towns of Tomina, Dafniya and Karamin.

  • In March 2011, Al Jazeera reported a story about Viagra and condoms being found on dead Qadhafi soldiers.768 Subsequently, many stories circulated that Viagra had been used as a means to encourage rape. The National Institute of Searching for Missing Persons in Misrata and Ajdabiya, who photographed and documented the bodies of dead Qadhafi soldiers, had not found Viagra on their bodies or belongings. One witness who searched and identified over two hundred bodies stated he had not found any Viagra or condoms on any dead Qadhafi soldiers.769

  • As for the reports of condoms found on bodies of dead soldiers, there has been one doctor who confirmed he found between 10-15 condoms on soldiers in Misrata.770 Otherwise, no victims or perpetrators stated that a condom had been used during any rapes.

  • In May 2011, media reports stated that Qadhafi soldiers made video recordings of rapes on their mobile phones.771 These were reported to be found on their bodies after combat. One of the victims stated to the Commission that when she was being raped, a soldier recorded it on his mobile phone.772 The Commission tried to obtain copies of these videos, but were reportedly told almost none had been saved in order to protect the victims. One of the alleged perpetrators himself told the Commission that he witnessed one of his soldiers recording a rape on his mobile phone.773 The Commission was only able to obtain one video of a rape from a mobile phone which is one that had already been posted on the internet and broadcast by a media organisation.774 It is not possible to authenticate this video since no date or location or identity of the perpetrators or the source can be identified. Another three video clips were viewed by the Commission, but were not allowed to be copied.775 The videos were reportedly from a cell phone that a member of the Internal Security Agency (Jihaz Al-Amn Al-Dakhli) had found on a dead Qadhafi soldier. One of the video clips depicted a girl being raped by a man, with other men’s voices and laughter heard in the background. The victim’s face was seen, but not that of the perpetrators. The men can be heard saying, “Shut up you rat, this is the reward you get for being a rat.” The girl tried to cover her face, and a man said, “Let us see your face. If you tell anyone what has happened, we will show this video and tell the world you are a bitch.” Another clip showed a man’s testicles being squeezed with wire and the man is heard screaming. The witness refused to give the Commission a copy of the video clips because he said he would be severely disciplined if he did so. The third video clip was of a similar nature.

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