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Dutch Official At Euro-Med’s Webinar: ‘Our Aim In Libya Is Peace. Sanctions Could Work’

dutch official at euro meds webinar our aim in libya is peace sanctions could work
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The
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor hosted a topical
webinar on transitional justice and impunity in Libya that
brought together a group of international experts from
leading civil society organizations and the public
sector.

The expert panel, titled “Impunity in Libya
and the role of the EU and the UN,” addressed possible war
crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course
of the ongoing civil war, including mass graves, landmines,
torture and killings, in addition to the responsibility of
warring parties and their regional and international
supporters.

The event, moderated by Euro-Med Monitor’s
Humanitarian Researcher, Michela Pugliese, was concluded
with policy-oriented remarks concerning the United Nations
and European Union’s role towards the conflict, including
the issue of arm sales.

Timothy Reid, former Senior
DDR Advisor for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
(UNSMIL), listed a number of grave and concerning violations
in the Libyan conflict, saying, “The properties of Libyan
civilians have been seized and used by militants. Different
mercenary groups came to Libya… We [also] have the problem
of interference in courts’ work and tribalism.”

Reid
elaborated that some regional groups such as the UAE and
France have armed and financed Libyan groups and
mercenaries. “One of the areas that does not receive much
attention is the role of regional actors such as France,
Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added “Some European
countries are complicit in human trafficking [in Libya] as
they claim they prevent migrants from reaching their
shores.”

“In terms of accountability, members of
the UN Security Council follow their interests, such as
selling weapons,” he concluded.

Elise Flecher, a
Senior Programmes Officer at Lawyers for Justice in Libya,
highlighted that “The human rights consequences of
violating the arms embargo resulted in targeting civilian
infrastructure, such as the bombing of migrant detention
centres, which left 52 migrants dead.” She added that “the
conflict has led to people’s displacement, especially around
Tripoli and conflict-affected areas.”

“The conflict
has impacted human rights defenders, especially women,” she
continued, noting that the EU has an ambiguous approach
towards Libya. “Violating the arms embargo is
well-documented and have had different consequences, and the
EU is one of the most known violators of the arms embargo in
Libya,” she concluded.

Vito Todeschini, a Legal
Adviser at the Middle East and North Africa Programme of the
International Commission of Jurists, pointed out “The FFM
has the mandate to investigate violations related to
international human rights law, which means it could look
into crimes in Libya such as arbitrary detention, torture,
and crimes committed against migrants and IDPs.” He added,
“It has the mandate to look into crimes committed against
humanity.”

He noted that NGOs had created the FFM to
investigate human rights violations by armed groups due to
the lack of accountability. “Still, it is important to
note that its investigation is not
criminal.”

Todeschini suggested that FFM should
contribute to transitional justice by sharing the results of
investigations with other bodies investigating crimes. “It
can provide accountability for human rights violations
committed in Libya. Its documentation and findings can be
used before domestic bodies to get reparations for victims
and to support the work of the African Union and the
ICC.”

“The FFM can play a major role in Libya, both
criminal and non-criminal. But it needs international
support and for its mandate to be renewed for hopefully more
than one year. Funding should be renewed as well,”
Todeschini added.

“Our overall aim is peace in Libya
in the interest of the Netherland and the region as a whole.
To achieve that, there is one path to it, which is a
rights-based and inclusive approach; we support programs on
the ground,” noted Renko Verheij, senior policy officer at
the Middle East and North Africa department of the Dutch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague. “Another key
element in our approach is international sanctions. We
should look at the direct results of sanctions and the role
it plays in signalling to others. It could
work.”

“We are the only country in which human
rights are mentioned in our constitution, and there is a
value to it as well,” he noted. “We should remember that
without a certain degree of justice, there will be no
reconciliation or security,” Verheij
concluded.

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