SASG Williams visits Tarhouna and meets with families of victims and survivors of human rights violations
TARHOUNA, 10 May 2022 - The Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Libya (SASG), Stephanie Williams visited today the city of Tarhouna, 90 km southeast of Tripoli, a city that witnessed mass and targeted killings and large-scale atrocities. Facilitated by the Association of Tarhouna Victims at the Azzaytuna University, SASG Williams listened firsthand to the families of the victims and survivors of gross human rights violations, perpetrated by the Kaniyat armed group and including extrajudicial killing, torture, enforced disappearances, and cruel treatment of detainees. SASG Williams visited two mass graves where 220 bodies, including 8 women and 3 children, have so far been exhumed; as well as two detention centers where dozens of men and women were arbitrarily detained and brutally tortured including in solitary cells.
“Today in Tarhouna I saw the mass graves and inhumane solitary detention cells where hundreds of victims were tortured and killed,” said SASG Williams in her remarks during the meeting with family members of the victims. “I offer my deepest condolences and express my solidarity with the families of the victims. There is nothing I can say that can bring back your loved ones, but I can assure you that the United Nations will support your pursuit for justice, accountability, and an end to impunity so that the perpetrators do not go unpunished.
The UN and international justice mechanisms have made significant efforts through the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya (FFM) to investigate violations and abuses of human rights throughout Libya by all parties since the beginning of 2016 and the work of the International Criminal Court. I pledge to amplify your voices and demands for justice and accountability.”
The SASG stressed the importance of ensuring full documentation of the human rights violations in Tarhouna including the identification, demarcation, and collection of evidence from the mass graves in conformity with international standards and practices. She also underscored the immediate need for psychosocial support to the family members of the victims primarily the children and women. “The children, wives, sisters, brothers, parents, and grandparents of these victims need immediate psychosocial support,” she added.
SASG Williams highlighted the link between justice and peace for the entire country: “There is a need for accountability
At the mass grave sites and the detention centers, the SASG and the accompanying human rights officers of the mission were briefed by members of the Public Prosecution Committee in charge of Tarhouna file, and members of the Criminal Investigation Department.