GENEVA – Tribal rivalries and politically-driven armed conflict in Libya have caused hundreds of deaths and forced more than 200,000 people to flee their homes in recent months, according to the latest report from the United Nations.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Geneva Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Tuesday that some of the actions documented in the report may constitute “war crimes.”
Fighting between different groups in the east, west and south of the country have left the population trapped in a potentially disastrous humanitarian situation, the spokesperson said.
The report, which included a description of the humanitarian situation in Libya over the last three months, also documented cases of indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, kidnapping of civilians, summary executions and wanton destruction of property.
Fighting between rival armed groups in the western Libyan region of Warshafana has caused the death of around 100 people and 500 injuries, while some 120,000 people were displaced.
The same area also experienced shortages of food supplies and medicine between August and early October.
According to the UN report, 170 people were killed in the Nafusa mountain area bordering Warshafana during the same period.
In Benghazi, some 450 people were killed in the conflict, while 15,000 families were displaced (around 90,000 people).
The data on fatalities as cited in the UN report is based on information obtained from hospital records.
The report has also condemned the widespread abduction of civilians suspected of belonging to a certain tribe or family, or believing in a certain faith.
In most cases, they are taken hostage to be exchanged for prisoners held by other tribes or groups, the report said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, warned all parties involved in the armed conflict in Libya that serious violations of international law will be prosecuted.
The warning holds not only for the army commanders, but also leaders of rebel groups involved in the conflict, he added.