GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations human rights investigators called on Libyan authorities on Tuesday to ensure that their forces refrain from revenge killings and humanely treat detainees who fought on behalf of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.
“It is extremely important that the NTC (National Transitional Council) and all armed groups in Libya ensure that all detainees under their control, irrespective of their affiliations, are treated with due respect for their human rights,” said Philippe Kirsch, chairman of a U.N. inquiry commission.
“In particular, I would urge all armed forces to refrain from revenge killings and arbitrary repression of Libyans and foreigners.”
Attention has been focussed on the treatment of detainees by Libya’s new authorities, especially since last week when Gaddafi himself was killed after being captured alive.
The Commission of Inquiry is expected to conduct a full investigation into the death of Gaddafi, after U.N. and human rights groups voiced concerns that he may have been summarily executed, a war crime under international law.
Gaddafi was buried in a secret desert location on Tuesday.
In June, the Commission composed of independent experts recorded serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by Gaddafi’s government.
“The dawn of a new era provides an opportunity for the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the future interim Government...to make a break from that past,” Kirsch said.
“As the Commission...continues its investigations into violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Libya, it hopes to record the steps taken by the NTC and the future interim authorities to prevent violations and abuses of human rights,” the statement added.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has visited centres holding more than 7,000 detainees and called for access to all those arrested at the fall of Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte.
Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay