United Nations A/hrc/19/68

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I. Introduction

1. On 25 February 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution S-15/1 entitled “Situation of Human Rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” which inter alia, decided to dispatch an independent, international Commission of Inquiry.

2. On 15 March 2011, the President of the Human Rights Council established the International Commission of Inquiry and appointed its three members, Ms. Asma Khader (Jordan), Mr. Philippe Kirsch (Canada), and Mr. M. Cherif Bassiouni (Egypt). The President also designated Mr. Bassiouni as Chairperson, a role taken over by Mr. Kirsch in October 2011. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) supported the Commission with a Secretariat.

3. Resolution S-15/1 requested the Commission “to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and where possible, to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular, on accountability measures, all with a view to ensuring that those individuals responsible are held accountable.” Given the Security Council’s referral of events in Libya to the International Criminal Court, the Commission also considered events in light of international criminal law.

4. On 15 June 2011 the Commission submitted a report to the Human Rights Council setting out its findings. The Council extended the mandate of the Commission in light of the extensive and on-going allegations of abuses. It requested the Commission to provide a second report at the Council’s nineteenth session in March, 2012.

5. The Commission previously noted that the legal regimes applicable during each phase of the conflict differed. International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law applied throughout Phase II (armed conflict). With the end of armed conflict (Phase III), international human rights law became predominant.

6. As with its first report, the Commission took a cautious approach in assessing the information gathered. It relied where possible on its own observations and first-hand accounts. The Commission bore in mind that it was not seeking evidence of a standard to support a criminal conviction, but an assessment based on a “balance of probabilities” to determine whether a violation had occurred.

7. The Commission faced a number of significant challenges (see Annex I, sect. I). Security and administrative difficulties prevented a return to the field until October 2011 and no substantive investigations were possible before December 2011. There were also logistical difficulties in accessing places and individuals.

8. Notwithstanding these constraints, the Commission has gathered substantial evidence. This official report is strictly limited in length and allows only for a general summary of the findings in relation to some of the most serious allegations investigated. Detailed information, including all significant evidence, is contained in the Annexes.

9. The Commission is grateful to the new Libyan Government, other states, a number of United Nations agencies, NATO, and other organizations who have provided assistance to the Commission. The Commission is especially appreciative of the victims and witnesses of violations who have shared their information

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