Shelling of Civilian Areas a “War Crime”

From Amnesty International.

Libya: Indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi amounts to war crimes

Amnesty International is calling for all sides to immediately stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi where clashes in recent weeks have evolved into two separate armed conflicts. Such indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes.

Intense fighting between rival armed groups and militias in both cities has killed 214 people and injured 981, according to the Ministry of Health, as well as causing damage to civilian property. Medical workers reported that the dead and injured included civilians, in particular women and children.

“The warring parties in Tripoli and Benghazi have displayed a wanton disregard for the safety of ordinary civilians who have found themselves mercilessly pinned down by indiscriminate shelling with imprecise weapons that should never be used in populated areas,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“All sides in both these conflicts have an absolute obligation under international law not to target attacks against civilians.”

Parties to the conflict also have an obligation to refrain from attacks that disproportionately harm civilians or fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

In one of the most tragic incidents, five members of the same family were killed when a GRAD rocket struck their home in Sawani, on the outskirts of Tripoli on 31 July. Among the dead was Na’ima Bahloul al-Dawa, who was eight months pregnant and received shrapnel wounds to the stomach causing her to miscarry. A girl around 10 years old was also killed after sustaining head injuries. Three other members of the same family including a 14-year-old boy and a woman in her sixties were injured in the same incident.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply