The UN reports a serious and growing threat to civilians from unexploded ordinance in Libya. The UN Mine Action Services, or UNMAS, is reporting on a new and exponentially growing concern from unexploded and banned cluster weapons since fighting began anew in April of 2019. UNMAS notes especially the re-contamination to parts of the country previously cleared from such explosives.
As UNSMIL reported in January, the volume of such uncontrolled ordinance in and around Tripoli has increased exponentially, with hundreds of reports coming in from civilians near the fighting.
UNMAS “estimates between 150,0000 – 200,000 tonnes of unexploded munitions across Libya currently. NGO Human Rights Watch has accused Haftar of using the banned cluster munitions in his attack on Tripoli. Cluster bombs spray multiple small explosive charges while in the air, although many fail to detonate initially, and can harm civilians later who may stumble upon them.
Despite the UN’s Security Council recently passing a new resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya, analyst Jalel Harchaoui blamed the council members for the dangers being posed to civilians by these unexploded munitions. He notes the council has shown “zero commitment” to enforcing its arms embargo, announced in 2011. “There’s a free-for-all, almost like a green light that is …sent by the member states of the security council.”
Six Libyan families are suing Khalifa Haftar and the UAE government in a federal US court for alleged war crimes committed in Libya, according to Turkish media sources. The families are suing for $1 billion in damages over relatives who were murdered, injured or targeted by Haftar and his forces. According to a press release put out by the families’ legal counsel, "By filing the lawsuit in Washington, the plaintiffs will bring to light the serious human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings and torture which the defendants have engaged in with absolute impunity and without fear of accountability”.
The release went on to say that Haftar is “not just a war criminal but also a US citizen with assets and family members…can and will be held accountable for his illegal and barbaric acts”.