Human Right Group Call For Investigation Of Tarhouna Mass Graves

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch reported that it had called on the Government of National Unity (GNA) in Libya to investigate the disappearance of hundreds of Tarhouna people, where many mass graves have been discovered since the summer.

The city, situated 80 kilometers from the capital of Libya, suddenly came out of anonymity in June after the discovery of mass graves that “horrified” the United Nations.

The first discovery came the day after the departure of a strongman from eastern Libya, Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who tried in vain to conquer Tripoli, where the UN-recognized GNA is headquartered, in April 2019.

The city has been under the rule of pro-government forces ever since.

Residents told the NGO that the Khalifa Haftar-allied militia, “abducted, detained, tortured, killed and often disappeared people who opposed it or were suspected of doing so”.

Libyan authorities told HRW that the bodies discovered in mass graves have not been identified yet.

They should “take appropriate measures to identify the bodies and bring those responsible for abuses to justice,” said Hanan Salah, HRW researcher on Libya.

In November, U.S. authorities disciplined the Kaniyat militia and its chief, Mohamed al-Kani, for “torturing and killing civilians during a cruel campaign of oppression in Libya.”

These restrictions include the freezing of their assets in the United States and the prohibition within the American banking system of transactions with them.

Since the NATO-supported uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has plunged into violence.

In October, the GNA, supported by Turkey, and Marshal Haftar, supported by, among others, the UAE and Russia, signed a ceasefire agreement.

In November, Libyan officials from all sides decided to hold the December 2021 national election.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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