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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow Criticizes UN Libya Commission Report

RIA Novosti

20:42 11/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti) - Some of the assessments made by the UN commission investigating reports of human rights violations in Libya are “inadequate,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s ombudsman for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said on Sunday.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Libya was created in February 2011 following the outbreak of a popular uprising against Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. In a 220-page report presented on Friday to the UN Human Rights Council, the commission said both pro-Gaddafi forces and opposition fighters were guilty of war crimes, including unlawful killings, torture and other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

“We consider the assessments included in the commission’s report regarding Gaddafi’s death and especially civilian causalities as a result of the NATO military campaign in Libya inadequate,” Dolgov told RIA Novosti.

The commission said in its report that NATO “conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties.”

“On limited occasions, the Commission confirmed civilian casualties and found targets that showed no evidence of military utility,” the report said.

However, it said, “the Commission was unable to draw conclusions in such instances on the basis of the information provided by NATO and recommends further investigations.” According to the report, a total of 60 civilians were killed and 55 others were injured as a result of NATO airstrikes in Libya.

“The commission should have display more perseverance to get relevant and comprehensive information from both NATO and the new Libyan authorities regarding the deaths of civilians as a result of actions by opposition military units and the alliance’s military campaign,” Dolgov said.

An international NATO-led coalition launched a military operation in Libya in March 2011, after the UN Security Council issued a resolution introducing a no-fly zone over the country to stop mounting airstrikes by pro-Gaddafi forces against opposition fighters.

Russia has repeatedly accused NATO of misusing its UN mandate to help rebels overthrow Gaddafi by launching targeted attacks against his troops, compounds and other “civilian” facilities across the country. NATO commanders have dismissed the allegations, saying its attacks were aimed at command centers used by Gaddafi loyalists to coordinate their assault on opposition forces.

Dolgov called on the commission to continue working in Libya until all reports of alleged crimes are thoroughly studied.

“Unfortunately, many of those crimes, if not the majority, have not been investigated and those guilty have not been punished,” he said, adding that Gaddafi’s controversial death following his capture by opposition fighters in October last year was among the cases that have to be carefully examined.

“We confirm the Russian initiative to conduct such an investigation in cooperation with NATO and the United Nations,” he said.

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