UN accuses Russian Wagner elements in Libya of committing violations

The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission headed by Mohamed Auajjar said that investigations indicated that several parties to the conflict violated international humanitarian law, and may have committed war crimes.

The United Nations investigators stated Monday that “all parties to the Libyan conflict, including Russian mercenaries, have committed violations that may include war crimes” adding that they had prepared a confidential list of suspects.

The UN report accused, in particular, members of Wagner, “a Russian security company”, of shooting prisoners.

The report stated that “there is evidence to believe that Wagner personnel may have committed war crimes of murder,” adding that the Wagner members left behind a tablet computer with a map identifying the locations of mines planted near civilian buildings in areas left by the LNA forces upon their withdrawal after the war in Tripoli in 2019. Mines, mostly made in Russia, have killed or injured a number of civilians as they returned to their homes.

It is noteworthy that Russian President Vladimir Putin had always denied his country’s responsibility for any elements in Libya. When he was asked last year about the activity of Russian mercenaries in Libya, he said that if there are any Russian fighters, they do not represent the state.

The report did not exclude the other side of the Libyan-Libyan conflict, as it stated that forces affiliated with the Government of National Accord, headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, carried out drone strikes that killed at least 12 people, in a massacre that killed women and children, in Qasr Bin Ghashir, south of Tripoli in June 2020, when the national army withdrew after trying to advance towards the capital.

Independent experts said in the report that torture and other violations were committed “daily” in Libyan prisons against detained migrants, which may amount to crimes against humanity – a reference from the report to what is happening within the wave of human trafficking, especially in the western regions of the country.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission report was based on hundreds of documents, satellite images, interviews with more than 150 people, and investigations in Libya, Tunisia and Italy.

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