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Posted on: October 17th, 2012 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Libya: New proof of mass killings at Gaddafi Death site, HRW

libya death HRW

photo: HRW

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New evidence collected by Human Rights Watch implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees following the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi one year ago. The Libyan authorities have failed to carry out their pledge to investigate the death of Gaddafi, Libya’s former dictator, his son Mutassim, and dozens of others in rebel custody.

The 50-page report presented by Human Rights Watch, “Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte,” details the final hours of Muammar Gaddafi’s life and the circumstances under which he was killed. It presents evidence that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of the Gaddafi convoy and, after bringing them under their total control, subjected them to brutal beatings. They then executed at least 66 captured members of the convoy at the nearby Mahari Hotel. The evidence indicates that opposition militias took Gaddafi’s wounded son Mutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there.

“Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. .

Among the most powerful new evidence is a mobile phone video clip filmed by opposition militia members that shows a large group of captured convoy members in detention, being cursed at and abused. Human Rights Watch used hospital morgue photos to establish that at least 17 of the detainees visible in the phone video were later executed at the Mahari Hotel.

Under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime, and Libyan civilian and military authorities have an obligation to investigate war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law, according to Human Rights Watch.

These killings constitute the largest documented execution of detainees by anti-Gaddafi forces during the eight-month conflict in Libya, Human Rights Watch said.

A review of the available evidence regarding the deaths of Muammar and Mutassim Gaddafi calls into question the official account by the Libyan authorities, who claim that the two, as well as all others who perished at the scene, died during fierce crossfire. Video footage shows that Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound, believed to have been caused by shrapnel from a grenade thrown by his own guards that exploded in their midst, killing his defense minister, Abu Bakr Younis.

In the footage, Muammar Gaddafi is severely beaten by opposition forces and stabbed with a bayonet in his buttocks, causing more injuries and bleeding. By the time he is filmed being loaded into an ambulance half-naked, he appears lifeless.

According to the evidence collected by Human Rights Watch, Mutassim Gaddafi was also captured alive at the scene of the battle, trying to break out of the siege by opposition forces. He was wounded and then filmed being transported by members of a Misrata-based opposition militia to the city of Misrata, where he was again filmed in a room, smoking cigarettes and drinking water while engaged in a hostile conversation with his capturers. By the evening, his dead body, with a new wound on his throat that was not visible in the prior video footage, was being publicly displayed in Misrata.

“In case after case we investigated, the individuals had been videotaped alive by the opposition fighters who held them, and then found dead hours later,” Bouckaert said. “Our strongest evidence for these executions comes from the footage filmed by the opposition forces, and the physical evidence at the Mahari Hotel, where the 66 bodies were found.”

“Despite initial pledges by top Libyan officials that the events would be investigated, Human Rights Watch has not seen any evidence that any actual inquiry is under way or has been carried out,” HRW says.

“One of Libya’s greatest challenges is to bring its well-armed militias under control and end their abuses,” Bouckaert said. “A good first step would be to investigate the mass executions of October 20, 2011, the most serious abuse by opposition forces documented so far.”

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