UN concern over ‘horrific’ reports of discovery of 8 mass graves in Libya
After horrific reports revealed of at least eight mass graves in Libya’s western city of Tarhuna, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for a “speedy investigation” of the “extrajudicial killings”.
In a statement, the mission expressed its “deep concern” regarding “very horrible reports about the discovery of at least eight mass graves, most of them in Tarhuna.”
The UNSML also noted that, according to international law, the authorities: “Must conduct a prompt, transparent and effective investigation into reports of extrajudicial killings.”
UNSMIL welcomed the decision of the Ministry of Justice in the Government of National Accord (GNA) to form an investigation committee, calling on the committee to start working to protect mass grave sites: “From tampering, and to identify victims and causes of death and return the bodies to the families of the dead.”
The Ministry’s declaration came after the visit of the Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha to the city of Tarhuna. “We are searching for all mass graves to identify the bodies and hand them over to their families,” Bashagha disclosed in a statement.
“It is necessary to return security to the city, and we do not want any security interventions with the assigned force,” he added, referring to the joint security force that was formed to re-impose security in Tarhuna.
In turn, the Joint Committee for Monitoring and Documenting Human Rights Violations confirmed that it will continue to detect those responsible for committing the atrocities.
“We followed, through our monitoring teams, the extraction of a number of bodies from mass graves and abandoned wells in the city of Tarhuna, after liberating it from the militia,” explained the Joint Committee, with reference to the forces of Khalifa Haftar.
The committee continued: “More than 100 bodies were found inside Tarhuna Hospital, and we will spare no effort to reveal the truth and uncover those responsible for committing these atrocities and bring them to justice.”
The GNA accused the forces loyal to Haftar of responsibility for the mass graves found in the city.
Bouraoui Al-Bouzidi, general supervisor of Tarhuna Hospital, confirmed that more than 160 bodies were discovered after Haftar’s forces withdrew from Tarhuna.
Al-Bouzidi told reporters after a tour they had taken inside Tarhuna Hospital, that the number of bodies that were inside the hospital refrigerators reached 160, and most of them were transported to Tripoli and Misrata by the Red Crescent and in the presence of the Public Prosecution.
On Friday, the forces of the internationally-recognized GNA regained control of Tarhuna, 90 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, the last stronghold of Haftar’s forces in the west of the country.