Libya’s state-funded militia must be held accountable for 'war crimes': Amnesty
Formally established by the government in January 2021, the SSA has allegedly been responsible for the arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants, unlawful killings, forced labour and torture. The group is led by Abdel Ghani al-Kikli, often called Gheniwa, a powerful commander from Tripoli with a history of war crimes over the past decade, according to a report released in February 2021.
#Libya | The state-funded Stability Support Authority militia has been committing shocking human rights violations and crimes under international law against Libyans, #migrants and refugees.— Amnesty MENA (@AmnestyMENA) May 4, 2022
SSA militia leader should be investigated & prosecuted.https://t.co/DECE3EJ7wG
“Legitimising abusive militia leaders and putting them on state payroll with no questions asked only empowers them to continue trampling on the rights of more people with complete impunity,” said Diana Eltahawy, the Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“For over a decade, militias under his command terrorised people in the Tripoli neighbourhood of Abu Salim through enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful killings and other crimes under international law. He should be investigated and, if there is enough admissible evidence, prosecuted in a fair trial.” she added.
Representatives from Libya’s Ministry of Interior reportedly confirmed to the human rights watchdog that the SSA was intercepting and detaining migrants at sea, forcing them into poorly ventilated, overcrowded camps. They were routinely subject to forced labour, rape and other sexual abuse, according to Amnesty.
“Mass arbitrary detention, torture, forced labour, rape and other horrific violations by SSA militiamen against refugees and migrants are yet another grim reminder that refugees and migrants intercepted at sea should never be returned to Libya,” said Eltahawy.
She urged the European Union to cease working with Libyan authorities on border control to pressure Tripoli to end its brutal policies against migrants.
Libya has long been a springboard for migrants, often from countries ravaged by war and poverty, to make desperate bids to reach a better life in Europe. The north African nation has been ravaged by conflict since the Arab Spring uprising toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.