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War Crimes in Libya

32nd Brigade Massacre

PHR's latest Libya report provides a detailed and comprehensive forensic account of the 32nd Brigade massacre under Khamis Qaddafi on August 23, 2011 in Khalat Al Forjan, Tripoli. >> Read the report

Libyans first took to the streets to protest Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s autocratic rule in February 2011. His response was quick and brutal: attack protesters and target civilians in a deliberate campaign to quash dissent across the country. As Qaddafi troops closed in on the eastern city of Benghazi and threatened to decimate the population in March, the Arab League called for international intervention. Despite NATO’s subsequent air campaign to protect Libyan civilians, untold thousands suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of Qaddafi forces since the uprising began.

In June of 2011, PHR sent an investigative team to the coastal city of Misrata shortly after rebel forces liberated it. Witness to War Crimes: Evidence from Misrata, Libya details the lives of ordinary citizens during a two-month siege and sheds light on Qaddafi’s systematic assault. In-depth interviews with 54 residents provided evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture, rape, forced internment, and disappearance.

Charting a new course for the country in a post-Qaddafi era requires that perpetrators are brought to justice and held to account for their abuses. Individual accountability for crimes under the rule of law is the best guarantee for preventing future human rights violations and ending a cycle of violence.

>> Learn more about War Crimes in Libya, watch a slideshow, and view the timeline

Libya Needs to Ensure Independence of Institution Responsible for Identifying the Missing (April 3, 2013)

A new report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) points to improvements Libya should make to its system of exhuming, identifying, and reburying human remains to facilitate healing among grieving survivors and to ensure accountability for perpetrators of atrocities.

Libya: Beating and Imprisonment of Doctor is Decried (June 5, 2012)

Dr. Salem Forjani, a heart surgeon for the Health Ministry in Libya who was beaten and imprisoned last month by the Government’s Supreme Security Committee (SSC). PHR decries his treatment and calls for Libya to establish a rule of law and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Qaddafi's Abattoir (Warscapes, January 24, 2012)

Since the collapse of the Qaddafi government, many mass graves have been discovered throughout Libya, evidence of the brutalities committed during the uprising. The forensic evidence provided by Physicians for Human Rights has helped to provide a clearer understanding of these atrocities.

New Libya needs justice and accountability (Global Post, January 13, 2012)

After Gaddafi, Libya must investigate suspected war crimes committed by all sides says PHR's Richard Sollom in a Global Post Op-Ed.

More War Crimes in Libya News »

ICC to Investigate Rape in Misrata Using Doctors’ Testimonies and Hospital Records (April 24, 2012)

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has announced his intention to investigate mass rape as a weapon of war in Misrata, Libya during last year’s conflict.

Former Libyan Spy Chief, Wanted Criminal, Should be Tried at the ICC (March 21, 2012)

Reports that Libya’s former spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, was apprehended late last week in Nouakchott, Mauritania, have sparked international discussion about where best to prosecute this wanted war criminal.

UN Identifies Libyan War Criminals; PHR Continues Its Call for Justice (March 15, 2012)

This week, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to extend the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for another year. UNSMIL, comprising a small team of international experts, was established last September to support post-conflict reconstruction.

Pro-Qaddafi Forces and Rebels Committed War Crimes (March 5, 2012)

The United Nations concluded on 2 March 2012 that both pro-Qaddafi forces and rebels committed war crimes during the Libyan conflict last year.

More War Crimes in Libya Posts »

Libyan Human Identification Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis (March 2013)

The identification and repatriation of individuals killed and “disappeared” during the recent conflict in Libya and the previous regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi constitute one of the most urgent challenges facing the interim government of Libya.

Libya Should Surrender Saif al-Islam Qaddafi to the ICC (April 2012)

PHR is disappointed in the Libyan transitional authorities’ decision not to surrender Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, Muammar Qaddafi’s son who is wanted for crimes against humanity.

32nd Brigade Massacre: Evidence of war crimes and the need to ensure justice and accountability in Libya (December 2011)

This report, which combines medicine, forensic science, and eyewitness testimony to paint a stark picture of life and death in detention in Tripoli, provides a detailed and comprehensive forensic account of the 32nd Brigade massacre under Khamis Qaddafi on August 23, 2011 in Khalat Al Forjan, Tripoli. PHR’s investigation highlights the urgent need for Libya to establish due process, document crimes to the highest forensic standards, and acknowledge victim’s right to know the truth about their loved ones within a transitional justice process addressing grievances on all sides.

Witness to War Crimes: Evidence from Misrata, Libya (August 2011)

When Libyans first took to the streets to protest Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s autocratic rule in February 2011, Qaddafi's response was quick and brutal: attack protesters and target civilians in a deliberate campaign to quash dissent across the country. This report documents some of the conflict's most severe human rights violations that must be addressed as a new civilian government emerges.

More War Crimes in Libya Research »

Featured Report

32nd Brigade Massacre: Evidence of war crimes and the need to ensure justice and accountability in Libya

This report, which combines medicine, forensic science, and eyewitness testimony to paint a stark picture of life and death in detention in Tripoli, provides a detailed and comprehensive forensic account of the 32nd Brigade massacre under Khamis Qaddafi on August 23, 2011 in Khalat Al Forjan, Tripoli. PHR’s investigation highlights the urgent need for Libya to establish due process, document crimes to the highest forensic standards, and acknowledge victim’s right to know the truth about their loved ones within a transitional justice process addressing grievances on all sides. Read More »

Featured Expert

Katherine

Katherine "Katy" Close, MD, MPH

Dr. Close is a board-certified Internist specializing in care for those without access to adequate medical care. She has worked throughout her career with the disadvantaged, in hospice settings and through free clinics. Read More »