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UN chief urges Libya to probe rights abuses

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged Libyan authorities to address human rights violations related to last year’s uprising and ouster of Moammar Gadhafi after a U.N. report said forces both supporting and opposing the former leader committed war crimes.

The U.N.-appointed International Commission of Inquiry on Libya issued its report Friday and handed diplomats a confidential list of names of alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said “the secretary-general believes the report and recommendations … provide a strong basis for the Libyan authorities to address human rights issues in Libya.”

The commission, appointed by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, concluded that “international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, were committed by Gadhafi forces.”

It said “acts of murder, enforced disappearance, and torture were perpetrated within the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.”

The commission said anti-Gadhafi forces also committed serious violations, “including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law.”

Nesirky said Ban noted the report’s overall finding that NATO did not deliberately target civilians in its bombing campaign in Libya. NATO warplanes flew 18,000 sorties during the 7-month campaign, which ended in October.

Panel chairman and Canadian judge Philippe Kirsch told reporters on Friday that the panel recommended more investigation of NATO’s air campaign, which unintentionally killed at least 60 civilians and wounded 55 more.

“We are quite sure that NATO did not deliberately attack any civilians,” he said.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday reiterated his call for a U.N. investigation of the NATO campaign, a call backed by China. Both countries accuse NATO of going beyond the Security Council’s mandate to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

Nesirky said Ban is aware of the positions of some Security Council members on the NATO bombings.

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