UN Urges De-Escalation in Libyan Capital

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The UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Libya urged all parties involved in the hostilities in Tripoli to “refrain from any further military escalation and to protect the human rights of civilians.”

The FFM said in a statement on Monday that its “investigators are monitoring reports of indiscriminate shelling resulting in civilian deaths, and massive destruction of civilian property, including vehicles, houses, buildings, and medical facilities.”

“The FFM in Libya condemns the use of force and violence with heavy weapons, and the failure by armed groups to take measures to safeguard civilians and civilian property from the impact of the fighting, and to take precautionary measures,” the statement noted.

It affirmed that violations stemming from such acts and omissions, “may constitute crimes entailing the international responsibility of the perpetrators, and those who are supporting them.” As well as reminding all parties to “protect civilians, by respecting the international humanitarian law principles of distinction between civilian and combatants.”

“The FFM Libya is monitoring the unfolding situation, and is compiling evidence of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This is with a view to ensuring that those responsible for international crimes are brought to justice,” the statement noted.

It called on the Libyan authorities to “utilise maximum restraint and engage in dialogue to resolve political differences to facilitate a transition to peace, democracy, human rights and rule of law in Libya.”

On Sunday, the Health Ministry of the outgoing Government of National (GNU) said the death toll has risen to 32, with 159 injuries, after deadly clashes erupted in Tripoli.

Notably, fighting broke out in various districts of Tripoli between groups armed with both heavy and light weapons. Libya’s two rival governments yet again vie for power in the oil-rich, but impoverished North African country.

The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB) affiliated with the commander Haitham Al-Tajouri clashed with the Stabilization Support Apparatus (SSA) affiliated with Abdel-Ghani Al-Kikli (Ghnewa).

Gunshots and explosions rang through the darkened streets of Tripoli, according to media reports.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed its concern over the deadly clashes. It called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and reminds all parties of their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian objects.

Libya has been mired in conflict since Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011. Plagued by divisions between competing institutions in the east and west, Libya remains split between rival forces, with two opposing executives in place since February.