Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls for expediting accountability for Tarhouna mass graves

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls for expediting accountability for Tarhouna mass graves

August 13, 2022 - 19:53
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement that accountability efforts for the killings, enforced disappearances, and acts of torture that occurred in Tarhouna and other areas south of Tripoli - during the attack on the capital by Khalifa Haftar’s forces in April of 2019 - should be expedited.

The statement said that over the last two weeks, specialized teams have discovered three new grave sites containing six unidentified bodies. The bodies are presumed to be those of people killed and buried in secret during the pro-Haftar Al-Kaniyat militia’s control of the city before its eventual rout in June of 2020.

"As of August 11, teams from the General Commission for the Search and Identification of Missing Persons had extracted 286 bodies from about 100 secret grave sites in Tarhouna and additional areas south of Tripoli, according to Euro-Med Monitor’s follow-up. The teams successfully identified 154 victims through DNA matching, and efforts are currently underway to identify more of the victims." The statement reads.

It said that according to independent documentation and eyewitness testimonies, the Al-Kaniyat militia committed atrocities against the civilian population while in control of Tarhouna, including the brutal field execution of hundreds. Furthermore, the militia kidnapped and illegally detained others in inhumane conditions, subjecting them to various forms of physical and psychological torture.

The statement also indicated that Al-Kaniyat militia, which fought alongside Haftar’s forces in their attack on Tripoli, executed mass killings that appear to have been carried out to maximize human losses and intimidate city residents. In in some cases, specialized teams discovered the remains of several members of a single family, including women and children.

The Monitor said it was concerned about the attempt to get rid of some of those responsible for the crimes without putting them through the proper legal process, which would surely help reveal more details about the crimes that occurred during this period or the people who were involved in them.

"In July 2021, unknown gunmen assassinated Muhammad al-Kani, the leader of the Al-Kaniyat militia, which is primarily responsible for the acts that may constitute crimes against humanity in several Libyan regions, particularly Tarhouna." The report said.