Rights groups accuse UAE of war crimes in Libya

Rights groups accuse UAE of war crimes in Libya
Libyan rights groups have claimed the UAE has committed war crimes in the oil-rich country, as a key backer of renegade general Khalifa Haftar's forces.
2 min read
27 September, 2017
UAE supports Haftar's forces which do not recognise the UN-backed Tripoli government [Getty]

Human rights groups in Libya have accused the United Arab Emirates of committing war crimes in the country in its backing of military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The findings on alleged direct airstrikes on Libyan civilians were presented on Tuesday at a conference for human rights on the sidelines of a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the forum, Libyan witnesses spoke of extrajudicial killings, forced hunger and displacement that they or their family members experienced under Haftar in Derna and Ganfouda, provinces in eastern Libya, Al Jazeera reported.

Abdulghani Aljatlaw, head of a group of families of survivors, also spoke about alleged UAE air raids in the Libyan capital Tripoli in August 2014.

Giumma El-Omami, president of Human Rights Solidarity, said that a UN commission set up by the Security Council found evidence of human loss that resulted from UAE and Egyptian airstrikes on Libya.

Allegations of abuses against Haftar, who leads the self-styled Libyan National Army backed by the UAE and Egypt, come as he met Italy's defence minister and security chiefs in Rome on Tuesday, bolstering his stature as a key player in international efforts to stabilise the oil-rich nation.

"The stabilisation of Libya, the fight against international terrorism and the control of migration flows figured during the meeting," the Italian defence ministry said.

Haftar does not recognise the authority of the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in the capital Tripoli, instead backing an alternate Tobruk-based administration set up in the country's east.

The UN in June released a report accusing the UAE of supplying helicopters and other military aircraft to Haftar in violation of a UN arms embargo.

Haftar's forces have repeatedly been accused of carrying out war crimes.