The deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Eric Goldstein, has accused Khalifa Haftar and his forces have repeatedly shown their disregard for civilians’ lives with disproportionate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian structures, saying there is a dire need for an independent UN investigation to attribute responsibility for these airstrikes and ensure justice for war crimes and compensation for the victims’ families.
In a report on Saturday, Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation by the UN to bring the ones responsible for the airstrike on Fernaj neighborhood in Tripoli to justice, saying this attack violates the laws of war.
"In the October 14 airstrike, Haftar's forces destroyed a home in the al-Fernaj residential neighborhood of Tripoli, and killed three sisters, ages 4, 5, and 7 and injured another sister, age 3, and the girls’ mother." Human Rights Watch said, adding there is evidence that Haftar's forces are responsible for it despite their denial.
HRW said it received witnesses' statements who confirmed seeing the airstrikes' scene, adding that civilians and civilian infrastructure should not be targeted as per laws of war.
Since April 4, Human Rights Watch has documented other Haftar's forces strikes that resulted in killing or injuring civilians and destroying homes and civilian structures with apparently no measures taken against those responsible and no compensation or payments to civilians. These attacks included a strike against a migrant detention center in Tajoura in July that killed 46 civilians
"Fighters affiliated with the (LNA) have a well-documented record of summarily executing civilians and fighters; forcibly displacing, torturing, and disappearing people; and carrying out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks that have harmed civilians." It added.
"Given the current state of impunity in Libya, there is a dire need for an international inquiry, such as by an independent commission of inquiry or similar entity, with a mandate to impartially document abuses, identify those responsible for violations, and publicly report on the human rights situation in Libya." Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch indicated that there is an upcoming opportunity to establish such an investigation during the March 2020 session of the UN Human Rights Council.
"Ghassan Salameh, the UN special representative to Libya; the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights; and several European governments have already endorsed such a move." The report confirmed.