Libya: NTC Vows To Probe Rights Abuses, Control Arms


By Asmaa Elourfi and Essam Mohammed

Libya may be liberated now but the war-ravaged country still has a long way to go to build a stable state. The main tasks now are to prevent human rights abuses and control the spread of Libyan weapons.

Interim Oil and Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni on Monday (October 24th) admitted that there had been some “violations” against captives and detainees. He stressed that the National Transitional Council (NTC) condemned rights abuses.

The NTC Executive Board “confirms its determination to boost the judicial bodies in the country to ensure that detainees receive humane treatment, and also to ensure that defendants in war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as defendants in criminal cases, receive fair trials as per international and human rights laws”, he said.

“We co-ordinated with the high security committee not to detain or arrest anyone without an order from the attorney general,” Tarhouni added.

The NTC is willing to “co-operate with the United Nations and specialised international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, whenever appropriate, to allow them to check the conditions of prisons and detention centres”, the oil official added. He also vowed that the interim council would make “these centres fully compliant with international standards”.

On the question of Moamer Kadhafi’s death, Tarhouni said that the NTC Executive Board “did not want to put an end to that tyrant’s life before bringing him to trial and making him answer questions that have always haunted Libyans”.

“We wanted him to answer certain questions, such as: why did he expel the best people in Libya around the world? Why did he kill them in cold blood without trial? What is his justification for the Lockerbie plane crime and the French UTI plane, as well as the Libyan Airways plane and the killing of all passengers on board?” Tarhouni said.

The circulation of weapons is another major point of concern. Though some rebel fighters have started laying down arms and returning to their past jobs, the NTC demanded that all revolutionaries hand in their arms. Random firing in the air has stopped, but the presence of large quantities weapons is still clearly visible.

“We will be able to fully control the sources of fire using different methods, such as the collection of weapons and ammunitions through tribes, sheikhs and dignitaries,” said Brigadier General Mohamed Hadia, director of weapons department in the Libyan army. He added that financial compensation would be offered to those who handed in weapons and strict measures applied to violators.

All heavy weapons need to be seized, argued Tripoli resident Salem Saad. “This is a terrifying thing that threatens peace and security, and can create armed militias in which members are loyal only to these groups,” he added.

Rebel fighters will need psychological help to return to normal life, said journalist Majida Bin Ismail. Sheikhs and Friday preachers need to join efforts to assist the former fighters, she added.

“We will also need to organise seminars and use the media to raise awareness among those revolutionaries about the need to turn in their weapons, especially as we’ve heard that some revolutionary factions have already started hand in their weapons,” Bin Ismail said.

“The mission has been accomplished, but we will keep some items of weaponry to run security patrols in our neighbourhood until the police return to their jobs, and then we will hand in weapons in full,” vowed Abdul Basit Dribka, a revolutionary fighter from al-Dhahra neighbourhood in Tripoli.


The Magharebia web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command, the military command responsible for supporting and enhancing US efforts to promote stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

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