June 19, 2013
Libya accuses NATO of war crimes
Libya accused rebels of butchery and cannibalism, and NATO forces of war crimes, while firmly denying a United Nations report which found that its own troops had carried out murders, torture and abductions.
Mustafa Shaban, a Libyan foreign ministry official, delivered the attack and the defense of the government of Muammar Gaddafi at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The 47-member forum held a debate on a UN investigation which concluded last week that Gaddafi's forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The team also found some evidence of crimes by opposition forces seeking to topple him. "Cities in the hands of armed gangs suffer terrible violations of human rights and heinous crimes," Shaban said.
"In Misrata, Libyan and foreign gangs who were arrested confessed to cutting throats and cutting off breasts of live women and even admitted to acts of cannibalism.
"NATO is violating human rights in Libya tantamount to crimes against humanity, crimes of war and crimes of aggression," Shaban said in speech before leaving the hall.
Maria Angela Zappia, ambassador of the European Union to the UN in Geneva, took the floor to reject Tripoli's allegations as "unacceptable", adding: "We firmly refute them."
NATO air strikes on Tripoli this week have been among the heaviest since bombing began in March. Government troops made an advance on the rebel-held western city of Misrata yesterday, shelling it and killing at least 12 rebels.
International financial support to rebel groups keeps arriving from abroad. France is to deliver 290 million euros to Libya's rebel Transitional National Council within a week, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said today. "This is preferential loans," Juppe told reporters. "We're unfreezing some assets in France by French banks." He said a mechanism to transfer those funds would be finalized within a week.