United Nations A/hrc/19/68

C. Arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances

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C. Arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances

      1. Introduction

  1. In its first report, the Commission concluded that Qadhafi forces arbitrarily detained a significant number of persons in towns and cities across Libya.372 The Qadhafi Government failed to afford proper legal protection to arrestees and targeted entire regions suspected of supporting the opposition. The Commission also documented cases of persons who had been disappeared and concluded that the Government “engaged in a pattern of enforced disappearances” in violation of its obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law.373

  2. With respect to the thuwar, during the first phase of the Commission’s work it received very little information on violations in relation to arbitrary arrest or other forms of deprivation of liberty or disappearance. With the gradual defeat of the Qadhafi forces, however, the situation with respect to thuwar-led detentions changed significantly. Several thousand people were arrested in the aftermath of battles where the thuwar prevailed, for example in Tripoli, Al Zawiyah, Misrata, Zintan, the Nafusa Mountains, Benghazi and Sirte. Persons suspected of working in the Qadhafi government, or persons from communities or areas believed to have either supported Qadhafi, or opposed the thuwar, were arrested, taken to unofficial detention centres or formerly functioning prisons, and held there for extended periods without charge.374

  3. In the second phase of its work, the Commission met with 197 persons who referred to instances of arbitrary detention or enforced disappearance. Of that number, 158 were direct victims of arbitrary arrest or their immediate family members. Thirty-one of the direct victims interviewed by the Commission were women and four were minors. The Commission met with 41 persons who had either been “disappeared” themselves at some point, or whose family members had suffered that fate.

  4. During its investigations the Commission obtained information from a variety of human rights organizations and local councils, including lists of “missing persons.” In accordance with the applicable legal framework, the Commission describes in this chapter only those instances where there is evidence that a person was arrested or otherwise apprehended, or was being held outside the legal framework, by elements of the Qadhafi Government, or the thuwar. Even within this more limited context, the Commission was not in a position to investigate all of the hundreds of individual reports it received. It, however, sought to determine whether a pattern of arbitrary detentions and/or enforced disappearances occurred.

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