United Nations A/hrc/19/68

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  • The Commission re-confirmed its finding in its first report of the large number of arbitrary arrests that took place as demonstrations broke out in Benghazi in February, 2011. In the second phase of its work, the Commission interviewed more residents of Benghazi who said they had been arrested while protesting and subsequently held outside the law.405 Their accounts are consistent with those gathered during the first phase of the Commission’s work.

  • The head of the Missing Persons Office within the Benghazi local council told the Commission in January 2012 that the total number of missing persons from Benghazi area was 1300.406 When Tripoli fell in August of 2011, only 354 came home.

      1. Al Zawiyah

  • Sources described to the Commission how the Qadhafi forces imprisoned those it believed had participated in the demonstrations.407 Families were unable to visit those imprisoned; houses were randomly searched and people beaten in the street.

  • For example, the Commission met with one protestor who stated that he was arrested in one such operation. The Qadhafi forces raided his nephew’s house in Al Zawiyah and detained him together with his brother and another two individuals in June 2011.408 They were reportedly taken to a base in Al Zawiyah and kept incommunicado in a container with eight other detainees for three days before being transferred to Abu Salim prison. During these three days, they said they were told to repeat Qadhafi slogans. If they kept silent, they were beaten. They remained blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. They were left without food or water inside the container in the summer heat.

      1. Misrata

  • The Commission noted a particularly high number of arbitrary arrests and disappearances in Misrata. The Commission met with one family who reported that on 16 March 2011 tanks entered the southern entrance of the city and snipers appeared on the roofs. By 10am they heard Qadhafi soldiers yell “Misrata is ours.”409 Members of one brigade reportedly came to the house and took away five male members of the family, the youngest being 14. The soldiers said the men (and boy) would be interrogated for an hour and brought back. The youngest brother returned home on 21 April 2011, another brother in May, the third June, and the remaining two in July and August 2011. They had apparently been taken to Tajoura and Abu Salim, but the family had been unable to locate them. A number of similar accounts were received which were sufficiently consistent as to satisfy the Commission as to their credibility.

      1. Nafusa Mountains

  • In the first phase of its work, the Commission collected considerable information relating to arbitrary arrest and disappearances of persons from the Nafusa Mountains area in particular.410 Reports were received of individuals detained at checkpoints as they left the mountains seeking supplies during the siege. Some of them were later found in the refugee camps in Tunisia, but many others were found killed, or were never found. Thirty-seven persons of those arbitrarily detained were executed by retreating Qadhafi forces in Al Qalaa (see chap. III, sect. B).

  • The Commission met a nurse who worked at a hospital in Yafran, and who told the Commission he was arrested in May for having treated thuwar.411 The hospital was surrounded and controlled by the Qadhafi forces in late April. At that time the nurse told the Commission that there were no thuwar patients in the hospital, as all had been evacuated when the Qadhafi forces advanced on Yafran. The nurse related that on 1 May at 3pm, he was arrested by three men in military dress from inside the hospital. He was taken to a local boy-scouts camp being used by the Qadhafi forces as a base some 20 kilometres from Yafran. After describing the beatings and torture he suffered, he told the Commission that he was transferred along with others to Military Camp 77. On the road, he and other detainees were beaten at several checkpoints manned by Qadhafi forces and called “rats” and “dogs”. The Commission notes that in a public speech on 22 February 2011, Qadhafi stated, “…capture the rats” (referring to anti-government demonstrators)…rats are traitors, unbelievers…don’t show them any mercy…fight them…. We will march in our millions, to purify Libya inch by inch, house by house, home by home, corner by corner, person by person, until the country is clean of the dirt and impurities”.412 The Commission heard from many witnesses that Qadhafi forces had referred to them as rats during interrogation.

  • When they got to Military Camp 77, one of his captors allegedly said, “I have a nurse with me who helped the rats.” After serious maltreatment including beating and electrical shocks during interrogation, the nurse was released three weeks later.

  • The Commission recorded dozens of similar cases where persons from various sectors were suspected of being thuwar, supporting them, or otherwise being hostile to the Qadhafi government and who were arrested without charge and held outside the framework of the law. The numbers of these incidents appeared to have decreased over time as the Qadhafi government lost its grip on the country. The last such arrest the Commission recorded was in July 2011.413 Based on the evidence it collected, the Commission re-affirms its conclusion in its first report that the Qadhafi security forces engaged in a pattern of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

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