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COI Sets Out Concrete Steps to Help Libya’s New Government Respond to Challenges Ahead
Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) for Libya
March 9, 2012

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
Human Rights Council 19th Session

Thank you, Madame President.

The United States thanks the commission of inquiry on Libya for its important work reporting on human rights violations during Libya’s courageous revolution and its ongoing democratic transition. We commend the transitional government’s continued commitment to respecting human rights and reversing the Qadhafi era legacy of impunity, corruption, and human rights violations.

The commission’s report details the gross human rights violations committed by Qadhafi forces and concludes that crimes against humanity were committed.  Reported violations include widespread and systematic attacks against civilians, acts of murder, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and rape.

The report also details abuses by revolutionary forces, such as unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and indiscriminate attacks.  Notably, the commission concluded that some of these violations are ongoing, and that certain communities, such as the Tawergha and sub-Saharan Africans, have been targeted.

We commend NATO for fully cooperating with the commission and for providing a significant amount of information, much of which had to be declassified, to assist them in their work.

We note the Commission’s conclusion that NATO “conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties” and the recognition of “NATO’s objective to take all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties entirely.”

Although NATO is not in a position to fulfill the Commission’s recommendations, NATO is in regular contact with the Libya authorities and has made clear that it wishes and intends to support Libyan efforts to review incidents that may have impacted civilians.

We share the commission’s concern about ongoing human rights violations and accountability.  Some of the most pressing challenges facing Libya are enhancing the capacity of the legal system, continued arbitrary arrests and detention, detainee abuse and mistreatment, the vulnerability of third country nationals, and militia domination of the security environment.

The commission’s recommendations to the Libyan authorities offer concrete steps for confronting both past abuses and addressing future challenges

We are well aware of the substantial tasks facing the Libyan authorities in promoting transitional justice, building new human rights and justice institutions, and responding to the commission’s recommendations.  The transitional government has shown great leadership in working with the international community, and we are confident that this collaboration will continue to benefit the Libyan people.

We therefore support the provision of technical assistance and advice from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Libyan authorities for those purposes.

We look forward to working with the international community to assist the Libyan authorities in addressing their challenges, and welcome support provided thus far, including contributions by the UN Support Mission to Libya within the scope of its mandate.

Thank you, Madame President.