U.N.-backed human rights experts said Monday there is evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants in chaos-stricken Libya, including women being forced into sexual slavery.
The investigators commissioned by the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council also faulted the European Union for sending support to Libyan forces that they say contributed to crimes against migrants and Libyans, and called on EU authorities to review their policies toward Libya.
The findings come in an extensive new report, based on interviews with hundreds of people, including migrants and witnesses, that wraps up a fact-finding mission created nearly three years ago to investigate rights violations and abuses in the North African country. The mission shared its findings with the International Criminal Court.
Oil-rich but largely lawless Libya has in recent years emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants seeking a better quality of life in Europe. A ctivists have long decried horrible conditions faced by migrants who were trafficked and smuggled across the Mediterranean.
Spokespersons for the government in the capital of Tripoli, which works in western Libya, and the forces of a powerful commander that controls eastern and southern Libya, were not immediately available for comment.
The investigators found "reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity were committed against Libyans and migrants throughout Libya," said Mohamed Auajjar, the head of the fact-finding mission. Speaking in Arabic through a translator at a news conference in Geneva, he said his team unearthed "numerous cases of arbitrary detention, murder, torture, rape, enslavement, sexual enslavement and enforced disappearance."