Archives For Human Rights Investigations

Key evidence about the range of the rockets allegedly used by the Syrian regime in the chemical attacks on 21st August in East Ghouta, which was first published by Human Rights Investigations (HRI) yesterday, indicates that widespread statements made by Human Rights Watch (HRW), government officials and the mass media about the attacks are erroneous. Continue Reading…

In the aftermath of the chemical attack in Syria on August 21st, each side naturally blamed the other, with western intelligence agencies providing evidence supporting the opposition, and Russian intelligence supporting the regime. Both sides issued biased reports with cherry-picked evidence, only adding to the confusion. A sadly rushed and deficient interim UN Report by Professor Sellstrom and his team was published, which was interpreted by those favouring US cruise missile strikes as a veiled indictment of the Syrian regime.

To clear a way through the morass of propaganda, a new blog called ‘Who attacked Ghouta‘ (WaG) was set up as an online collaboration platform to investigate who was behind the attack. Since then, dozens of contributors have meticulously documented and analyzed thousands of pieces of evidence. Continue Reading…

التطهير الُعرقي و الإبادة الجماعيّة و التورخا

هيومن رايتس إينفستيخاشيون (HRI) تُتابٍع عن كثب الوضع في منطقة ا”لتورخا”، وهنا نلفتُ معاً المعلومات، ونجِدُ، ، استناداً إلى تقارير الشهود والصحافيين والعاملين في مجال حقوق الإنسان ، بأنّ حالة ا”لتورخا” ليست مُجرد حالة تطهير عُرقي ولكن وفقاً للتعريف القانوني، إِبادة جماعيّة.

  HRI لديها مخاوف خطيرة ، ليس فقط لذوي البشرة الداكنة في ليبيا عموماً ، ولكن أيضاً لمؤيدي القذافي بما في ذلك قبائل ال “قدافى” و “المشاشياس”. نحن، أيضاً  قلقون بوجه خاص للتوارخة في جنوب ليبيا الذين يتمّ اتهامهم بال “مرتزقة” ، وهُم تحت هجوم الحُلف الشمالي الاطلسي و قوات المتمردين.  ولكن القلق الأكبر هو ربما للتورخا.

اتفاقية الإبادة الجماعيّة:

المادة الثانية الصادرة من إتفاقيّة الأُمم المتحدة لمنع و معاقبة جريمة الإبادة الجماعيّة تُفيد:

“أي فعل من الأفعال التالية المرتكبة بقصد التدمير كلياً أو جزئياً ، جماعة قوميّة أو إثنيّة أو عرقيّة أو دينيّة ، على سبيل المِثال:

    قتل أعضاء من جماعة
      إلحاق أذى جسدي أو عقلي جسيم لأعضاء المجموعة
     التسبب عمداً ، لظروف حياتيّة بقصد التدمير المادي الكلي أو الجزئي
      فرض تدابير تستهدف الحؤول دون إنجاب الأطفال داخل الجماعة
 نقل الأطفال قسراً من جماعة إلى جماعة أخرى.”

  1. تنص المادة الرابعة  على أن الأشخاص الذين يرتكبون جرائم الإبادة الجماعيّة أو أي من الأفعال الأخرى المذكورة  في المادة 3 يعاقبون ، سواء كانوا حكام دستورين و مسؤولين  اوموظفين عموميين أو أفراد


لقد تمّ تطهيرعرقي لل”تورخا”

البلدة الرئيسية في منطقة التورخا،  تورخا نفسها (الملقبة: تورخا / توورخا ) ، وهي بلدة لشعب يقدر با 31.250 (برنامج الأمم المتحدة للبيئة. (2005; وقد أُفرغت كلها من سكانها: شعبها وُجد اما مقتولآ او فراًّ.وسط عدة تقارير، يجري إزعاج السُكان الباقون في محاولتهم العثور على الماء والغذاء. بلدة مصراته تقع على بعد KM 30-40  جنوب مصراته / مصُراته ، وعلى طول الساحل الغربي لخليج سرت. وبعض مناطق مصراتة التي تحتلها التورخا قد حصل فيها أيضا تطهير عُرقي ، وفقاً لصحيفة وول ستريت جورنال.

وذكرت مُنظمة العفو الدوليّة  بمزاعم عن فرار بعض أفراد قبيلة” التورخا” عن منازلهم

عشرات الآلاف الذين يعيشون الآن في مناطق مختلفة من ليبياــ غير قادرون على العودة إلى ديارهم والعلاقات بين أهالي مصراته و التورخا متوترة بشكل خاص. سُكان مخيمات ماكشفيت قرب طرابلس ، حيثُ النازحون من التورخا لجأوا ، قالوا لمُنظمة العفو الدوليّة بأنهُم لن يذهبوا إلى الخارج خوفاً من الأعتقال. قالوا كيف تمّ إعتقال أقاربهم وآخرون من قبيلة التورخا عند نقاط التفتيش وحتى في مُستشفيات طرابلس

في 29 آب ، شاهد مندوبو منظمة العفوالدوليّة مريضٌ تورخي، في مستشفى طرابلس المركزي،  يُجرى ” إستجوابه في مصراته”و اخذه ثلاثة رجال ،أحدهُم مُسلح.  لم يكن بِحوزة الرجل أي مذكِرة توقيف . وقيل ايضاً لمنظمة العفو الدوليّة ان ما لا يقل عن رجلين اخرين من التورخا اختفوا بعداخذهم للإستجواب من مستشفيات طرابلس …

حتى في المخيمات،التورخا ليسوا بأمان.  في نهاية الشهر الماضي ، قاد مجموعة من الرجال المسلحين في المخيم ، واعتقلوا نحو  14 رجلا. تحدثت  أمنستي مع بعض أقاربهم ؛ لا أحد يعرف مصير أو مكان هؤلاء الأشخاص . وقالت امرأة أخرى في المخيم بأن زوجها في عداد المفقودين منذ خروجه راكضاً من المخيم ، للتسوق في وسط طرابلس ، منذ حوالي الأسبوع. تخشى ان يكون قد تمّ احتجازه

قد تمّ مطاردة التورخا الذين فروا للجوء في المخيمات، من قِبل جماعة من المتمردين ، الذين اختطافُهم أم أخذوهم بعيداً.  هناك تقارير موثوقة التي تُفيد عن عمليات اغتصاب و اختطاف و قتل للتورخا،.  حتى شوهد عمليّة مطاردة التورخا، للخروج من مستشفيات طرابلس الى أماكن مجهولة الهوية

التهديدات المُبكرة بالإبادة الجماعيّة في تورخا

في مقالة لصحيفة وول ستريت جورنال في 21 يونيو، وصف سام داغر،تورخا بمدينة تسكنها غالبية من الليبيين السود، وهو  يرجع الى القرن، 19 باعتبارها مدينة العبور في تجارة العبيد.  ونقل عن احد المتمردين قادة من لواء مصراتة

ابراهيم الحلبوس ، وهو أحد قياديّ المتمردين ، الذي يقود المعركة في ليبيا، يقول، على جميع المقيمين المتبقين المغادرة فوراً في حال إستيلاء مقاتليه على البلدة. ” عليهم حزم امتعاتهم”، وقال السيد حلبوس ”  تورخا، لم يعد لهاوحودٌ ، مصراته فقط

وأفاد زعماء المتمردين الأخرين بالتالي

“يدعون لاجراءات صارمة مثل منع المواطنين التورخا من العمل ، العيش أو إرسال أطفالها إلى المدارس في مصراته”

بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، وفقا لهذه المقالة ، كنتيجة لمعركة لمصراته

ما يقرب عن أربعة أخماس سكان حي “غوشي” في مصراته  وكانوا تورخا. الآن اختفوا أو اختبئوا، خوفًا من هجمات ا لإنتقام  من قبل المتمردين، وسط تقارير عن مِنح للقبِض عليهم

شيطنة التورخا

جزءٌهام من أي إبادة جماعيّة هوالشيّطنة و نزع الانسانيّة عن الضحايا و هذا هو الحال. في تورخا. كجزء من حرب المعلومات الحلف الشمال الاطلسي والمتمردين وصفوا جميع المقاتلين الموالين السود ، والعمال الضيوف من جنوب-  صحراء افريقيا ، وحتى سكان ليبيا ذوي البشرة السوداء با” المُرتزقة”

وقد تمّ اتهام التورخا بالإغتصاب الجماعيّ ، ويجري وصفهم بصورة جماعيّة ،بالمسؤولون عن معارك مصراته و نعتهم بتعابيرعنصريّة.  كما ذكر سام داغر

بعضٌ، من الكراهية والإيحاءات العُنصرية ضد التورخا، كانت كامنة في معظمها قبل إندلاع النزاع الحالي. على الطريق بين مصراتة وتورخا نجد شعارات المتمردين مثل “الفرقة لتطهير العبيد ،الجلد الأسودقد حلّ مكان خربشة مؤيدي القذافي

ومن الجدير بالذكر أن هذا التشويه من للسود أدى إلى فظائع واسعة النطاق بما في ذلك جرائم القتل وقطع الرؤوس التي بتواطؤ أعلى مراتب المجلس الوطني الإنتقالي

تورخا تحت قبضة الثوار

كما ذكرنا في ذلك الوقت ،  اتخذ المتمردين مدينة تورخا في 13 آب،في هجوم مُنسق بشكل وثيق مع الحلف الشمالي الاطلسي واستُخدم القصف الجويّ و أسلحة ثقيلة، ضد البلدة.

تجدون شريط فيديو للمعركة من جانب المتمردين

تقريرعن السقوط من أندرو سيمونز لقناة الجزيرة ، للأسف تفتقر للمواد، ولكن تظهر على الأقل أحد الكُتل السكنيّة الكبيرة في تورخا ، وبعض السجناء داخل حاوية شحن (المتمردين رفضوا تصويره) ، و رجل مُصاب بجروح و بلباس مدني و قوات المتمردين يقومون بطرد إمرأة مصريّة خسرت 9 أطفال تحت سن 12 ، والتي فرّت من منزلها أثناء الهجوم .

في هذه المرحلة، قد أُحيط آخر ما تبقى من المدنيين والمدافعين عن المدينة.

الهجوم في تورخا، قد أقيم تخطيطه في وقتٍ سابق، أورلا غورين من البي بي سي فشٍلت بشكلٍ مخزٍ ،في إعطاء واقع  التطهير العُرقي على رُغم من إجراء مقابلات مع ابراهيم الحلبوس ، القائد الذي هدد في وقتٍ سابق، على محو المدينة عن الخريطة

الحلف الشمال الاطلسي يدعم الهجوم الجوي علىتورخا

يتم تسجيل قصف الحلف الشمال الاطلسي داعيماً للهجوم، في النشرات الصحفية التابعة للناتو، من الأزمنة التالية

 آب 10: في محيط تورخا:  عقد  القيادة والتحكم (2) ، مرافق التخزين العسكرية
آب12 : في محيط مصراته: (1) منشأة عسكرية ، 1 مرفق تخزين الذخيرة
آب  13 : في محيط مصراته : 4 مدافع مضادة للطائرات
آب 13: في محيط تورخا: مركبات عسكرية (1) ، مدافع مضادة للطائرات

الهجوم الفعلي كان من 10-13 آب نستطيع  رؤية دور الناتو المهم في عملية التطهير العرقي في هذه المدينة ، تطهير عرقيّ  التي تمّ تحذيرهم منه، ولكنهم قرروا، مع ذلك ، المشاركة فيه

تشير التقارير إلى أن الناتو أمر المتمردين  طلاء سياراتهم بالون الأحمر و الأصفر قبل عملية  الهجوم

التطهير العرقي في تورخا

فمن المحتمل جدًا، إنتقال عددٌ كبير من اللاجئين السود من مصراته إلى مدينة تورخا. العديد منهم ومن المقيمين الأصليين فروا من المدينة  قبل الهجوم الفعلي ، وخصوصا أنّ ألويّة مصراته كانت تطلق صواريخ غراد على المدينة. من المُرجح أيضًا،  أن  يكون قد هرب بعض المقاتلين الى سبها ، سرت ، أو بني وليد ، حيث يجرون موقفاً ، علماً أن لا يمكنهم البقاء على قيد الحياة كأسر
مع الإشارة الى تقرير ديفيد إندرز، حيث يقدم تقاريرعن تورخا فارغة،  يشير إلى وقوع تطهير عرقي بعد السيطرة الكاملة للمتمردين

في أعقاب آخر التورخيون

نرد كامل الإئتمان ألى ديفيد اندرز،الذي يتابع قصة التورخيون. (17 سبتمبر) في محاولة لتتبع موقعهم الحالي :

تمّ طرد السكان من مخيمات اللاجئين في طرابلس خلال عطلة نهاية الأسبوع الماضية

المصراتيون ما زالوا يبحثون عن السود” ، قال حسن ، وهو من سُكان تورخا،يعيش حالياً في مخيم ثالث في جنزور، ستة أميال شرقيّ طرابلس. ” جاء أحد الرجال في هذا المخيم و أخبرني عن مقتل شقيقي على أيدي المتمردين الأمس

الدليل على أن المتمردين ما زالوا  يسعون وراء التوارخه وهذا الوضع لم يننتهي مع انهيار نظام القذافي،التي زالت مرئيّة،  سواء في فراغ هذه المدينة أو في المخيمات التيفرّ منها السُكان

في مجمع صناعي يماكه تركي باسم صلاح الدين في جنوب طرابلس ، رجلٌ  ينهب المعدن في المجمع قائلآً: التورخا ”  “ذهبوا إلى النيجر ” البلد الذي له حدود مع ليبيا في الجنوب حيث فرّ بعض مؤيدي القذافي ، بما في ذلك نجلآ الديكتاتور المخلوع 

تجدر الإشارة إلى أن الوصول إلى النيجر ، على أي لاجئ القيام برحلة خطرة للوصول الى سبها. من هناك كان رحلة أخرى بالحافلة لأسابيعللوصول  للنيجر ، عبر الصحراء : رحلة أخرى خطيرة لن يحاوله اي لاجيء حتى ولو نجا وحده

ديفيد إندرز يتابع تقريره

لافي محمد ، منزله على طول طريق المجمع ، وقال ان يوم السبت، مجموعة من الثوارالمسلحون من مصراتة ، التي تبعد 120 كيلومتر شرق طرابلس ، آتوا إلى المخيم وطردوا المستأجرين

واضاف “انهم اعتقلوا حوالي 25 رجلآً” ، وقال محمد “كانوا يطلقون النار في الهواء ويضربونهم ببندقيتهم على مؤخرتهم”

“أخذوا النساء والشيوخ والاطفال في شاحنات

قال محمد، انها ليست المرة الأولى التي يأتي فيها الثوار من مصراتة وراء الناس في المخيم

“قبل اسبوع كانوا هنا ، ولكن (الناس في الحي السكني) توسلوا ان يتركهم و شأنهم ، وقال محمد

وأفاد بأن بعض التورخا أخذوا مخيم آخر في مكان قريب، في مجمع يملكه برازيلي . نهار الثلاثاء ، كان هذا المخيم فارغاً وكذلك الأبواب مُغلقة

تم الاتصال هاتفيا في مخيم في جنزوربحسن ، الذي رفض إستعمال اسم عائلته،قال انه هرب من مخيم الشركة البرازيلية يوم السبت ، عندما ، تمّ قصفه.  وقال ان حوالي 1000 توارخا هم الأن في مخيم جنزور

واضاف “انهم اعتقلوا 35 رجلاً ، ولكن اطلقوا سراحي لأنني كنتُ مع عائلتي” ،و حسن يلقي اللوم على المقاتلون من مصراته

في تورخا، قال قائد للمتمردين بأن رجاله لديهم أوامر بعدم السماح لأي من السكان بالعودة . وقال أيضًا بأن  ذخائر غير المنفجرة ظلت في المنطقة ،الا أياًّ كانت واضحة

معظم المنازل والمباني في المنطقة قد تضررت في القتال ، وقد تمّ نهب نصف دزينة.  وقد سد الطريق الرئيسي المؤدي الى القرية . ألإشارة الوحيدة” لتورخا” رسمت عليها عبارة “نيو  مصراته

كُتب على أحد الجدران بالخرافيتيكلمة تشير إلى سُكان البلدة بال”عبيد” ، وهو إهانة للسود

مقابر جماعية كثيرة

منذ انهيار حكومة القذافي في غرب ليبيا في أواخر آب 2011 ، مقابر جماعية تحتوي على جثث لأشخاص قتلوا أثناء الصراع ذُكرت كل أسبوع في طرابلس وغيرها من المناطق ، وفقا للجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر (ICRC).

الاتصالات بين  قائد المتمردين من مصراتة و العقيد بني أحمد توحي،  بقبور جماعيّة من “الجنود الموالون للقذافي” الذي “لا ينبغي الحديث عنهم “شهدوا عملية قتل وأختفاء أقاربهم وفي أحد الحالات انتحار امرأة شابة تجنباً من التعرض للإغتصاب

وقد أعربت هيومن رايتس ووتش عن قلقها إزاء المتمردين الذي “يعدمون لرفضهم قتل المتظاهرون”  في محافظة البيضاء قُتلوا وصُور لوسائل الإعلام العالمية، من قبل المتمردين ، والتي رأة النورلأن،  فيديو الهواة للضحايا ظهرت في رعاية  المتمردين

لا نثق بنية سلطات المتمردين بالتحقيق في جرائمهم الخاصة

تواطؤ محمود جبريل في جريمة الإبادة الجماعية

ذكر سام داغر من صحيفة وول ستريت جورنال  في18   سبتمبر بأن محمود جبريل ،وزير المجلس الوطني الإنتقالي ، شكّل مسحٌ لخريطة البلدة في جلسة علنية في قاعة مدينة مصراته

وفيما يتعلق بتورخا،برأي لا أحد لديه الحق في التدخل في هذه المسألة إلا شعب مصراتة

لا يمكن أن ُنعالج هذه المسألة من خلال النظريات والكتب المدرسيّة أمثلة على مثل المصالحة الوطنية في جنوب افريقيا وايرلندا وشرق أوروبا ، “أضاف بينما هتف الحشد مع هتافات الله أكبر

وول ستريت جورنال تُكمل التقرير

الآن ، وقد تم إحراق منازل المتمردين في المدينة المهجورة 25 كيلومتر الى الجنوب.  منذ الخميس صحيفة وول ستريت جورنال قد شهادة حرق اكثر من عشرة منازل في المدينة، العقيد القذافي بذرّ المال والإستثمار. على أبواب منازل كثيرة تخريب في المدينة الوحيدة التي تقع على ساحل في البلاد التي تهيمن عليها مذوي البشرة الداكنة ، وعلى ضوء  خربش المتمردين عبارة “العبيد” و “الزنوج”

واضاف “اننا نضرم فيها النيران لمنع أي شخص من اليعيش هنا مرة أخرى “قال مقاتل من المتمردين الموالين والنيران تجتاح عدة منازل

اشخاص للاتصال

هذه ألإبادة الجماعية  السياسية غير ملائمة ، ولذلك منالمهم أن يحاول قراءنا لفت انتباه العالم إلى هذه القضية

وهنا بعض الاقتراحات ، و نرحب بإقتراحات أخرى

تويت  هذه المقالة باستخدام الزر أدناه

المستشار الخاص للامم المتحدة لمنع الإبادة الجماعية

http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/contactform.asp?address=1

المحكمة الجنائية الدولية

المحكمة الجنائية الدولية
مكتب المدعي العام
الاتصالات
صندوق البريد 19519
2500 CM لاهاي
هولندا

البريد الإلكتروني

otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int

الفاكس: +

31705158555

مكتب مفوض الأمم المتحدة السامي لحقوق الإنسان

مكتب مفوض الأمم المتحدة السامي لحقوق الإنسان المفوضية
قصر الأمم
CH – 1211 جنيف 10 ، سويسرا

الهاتف : +41 22 917 9220
البريد الالكتروني

InfoDesk@ohchr.org

نود أن نسأل قرائنا لإبقائنا على علم

الردود على جرائم الإبادة الجماعية ونحن نتعقب أولئك الذين يحاولون النكران ، التقليل أو تبرير هذه الجرائم والذين يعيشون في مواقع السلطة الذين لا يزالون صامتين أو يدعمون معنوياً أو سياسياً الأطراف المذنبة

المزيد من التطورات في موقف التوارخا

وتحركات
محمود جبريل
قادة المتمردين علي أحمد آلشيه، ابراهيم حلبوس، عبد الحسن من لواء الهورّيا
قائد الحلف الشمال الاطلسي الملازم تشارلز بوشار
النصوص ذو صلة مع القوانين الوطنية بتنفيذ اتفاقية  الإبادة الجماعية

 لاينبغي أن يكون هناك ،إفلات من العقاب على مُجرمي الحرب.
(PS — ومن الجدير بالذكر أن  ابراهيم حلبوس ، أحد قادة المتمردين المعنيين ،  بتعرضه بللشل ،بعد إصابته خلال القتال الذي دار يوم الاحد 18 سبتمبر وفقا لما ذكره ،متحدث باسم لجنة الاعلام  في مصراتة..

وزارة الخارجية الأميركية

منظمات أخرى :منظمة الصليب الأحمر الدوليّة ، ومنظمة العفو الدولية ،الأعضاء التابعة للأمم المتحدة

A major thread running through the story of the Libyan conflict has been the information war – propaganda spread by intelligence agencies, military, media and political groups designed to encourage hatred, conflict, war, foreign intervention, death and destruction.

One sad aspect of the propaganda war has been the role played by Amnesty International and – as we will see -the heavily compromised Human Rights Watch (HRW), organisations which used to be highly regarded (and still employ some decent, well-intentioned and brave individuals.)

The daily output of propaganda is difficult to keep up with, let alone dispel. With fabricated stories describing camel bones as mass graves containing 1270 bodies, Moussa Ibrahim reportedly being found in women’s clothing and viagra apparently being distributed as a weapon of mass destruction in order to “rape children as young as EIGHT” the propaganda is beyond parody.

Human Rights Watch – infiltrated

HRW has always been a somewhat dodgy organisation, largely funded by billionaires such as George Soros and the Rausing family whose fortune comes from Tetra Paks, exploiting cheap labor in China and (allegedly) tax dodging on an industrial scale. According to its 2010 financial statements, HRW’s annual spend on fundraising was $8,042,326 and $2,344,370 on management and general costs.

Human Rights Watch is very close to the US foreign policy establishment. Cables recently released by Wikileaks show HRW workers regularly meet with US officials abroad and as 08BANGKOK1522 makes crystal clear, HRW has been infiltrated by US government assets (our emphasis and italics):

2. (C) A long-time and trusted Embassy contact based in Thailand with HRW (STRICTLY PROTECT) revealed to us that the May 14 press release \”Burma: Donor States Must Monitor Aid\”generated a certain amount of internal dissent during its drafting. 

Of particular concern to HRW staff on the ground was reference to a report that the Burmese military appropriated international relief supplies.  The final version released to the media stated \”HRW confirmed an Associated Press (AP) report in which high-protein biscuits supplied by the international community had been seized by the military, and that low-quality, locally produced substitutes were instead delivered to communities in need.\”

3. (C) According to our contact, HRW received the story from a trusted source in Rangoon on May 12.  This Rangoon source stated that a Burmese Ministry official (NFI) had claimed that the Burmese military confiscated a shipment of high-protein biscuits and transferred them to a military warehouse. The Ministry official adamantly believed that the biscuits were replaced with an inferior version before distribution to cyclone victims, though he provided no verification of this claim. The Rangoon source had no first-hand knowledge of the action by the Burmese military and had not been able to follow-up with the Ministry official as to the current whereabouts of the alleged biscuits. HRW Thailand shared this story with their headquarters in New York, but couched it as for internal consumption only.

The Zainab al Hosni affair

The emasculation of Amnesty International is perhaps even more disappointing and it is a major victory for Admiral Stavridis’ information warriors to have neutered this once radical organization. Fresh evidence that Amnesty has been hijacked to a pro-NATO intervention agenda has been revealed by Syrian State TV and Russia Today.

On 23 September (whilst ignoring the genocide of the Tawergha , the NATO bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Libya) Amnesty issued this report about Zainab al Hosni of Homs:

Fresh evidence of the extreme brutality being meted out to Syrian protesters and their families has been revealed today by Amnesty International.

The mutilated body of 18-year-old Zainab al-Hosni of Homs, the first woman known to have died in custody during Syria’s recent unrest, was discovered by her family in horrific circumstances on 13 September.

The family was visiting a morgue to identify the body of Zainab’s activist brother Mohammad, who was also arrested and apparently tortured and killed in detention. Zainab had been decapitated, her arms cut off, and skin removed.

“If it is confirmed that Zainab was in custody when she died, this would be one of the most disturbing cases of a death in detention we have seen so far,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“We have documented other cases of protesters whose bodies were returned to their families in a mutilated state during recent months, but this is particularly shocking.”

The killings of Zainab and Mohammad bring Amnesty International’s records of reported deaths in custody to 103 cases since mass protests in Syria began in March this year.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Al Jazeera and most other media outlets used the case of Zainab in order to try to justify the sanctions against Syria (see Infanticide masquerading as policy) and intervention in Syrian affairs by the thoroughly discredited International Criminal Court and by the UN Security Council.

In a statement guaranteed to fan the flames in Syria, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork pronounced:

“Syrian security forces either killed and mutilated Zaynab al-Hosni or are turning a blind eye to gangs committing gruesome murders against anti-government activists and their families.

In either case, the government of Bashar al-Assad is perpetuating a climate of terror in Syria and fanning the flames of sectarian mistrust.”

Now, embarrassingly for all concerned, Zainab has turned up alive and well (though complaining about having had to run away from home due to being abused by her brothers) on Syria TV:

An Amnesty International spokesperson told the BBC:

We will endeavor to be a little more cautious and phrase things a bit more nuanced.

Update: Amnesty Internatioanl and Human Rights Watch have issued a joint-statement  which seeks to explain their position on Zainab al-Hosni case and in which they

“regret any inaccuracy in the misidentification of the body as that of Zaynab al-Hosni.”

Extracts from the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya directly relevant to the use of cluster munitions in Libya:

 With regard to the use of weaponry, the commission is concerned that the Libyan authorities have not been making appropriate and precautionary assessments which would, in the commission’s view, militate against the use of weapons such as mortars in densely populated urban areas. The commission is also concerned about reports of the use of weapons such as expanding bullets, cluster munitions and phosphorous weapons in highly populated areas. Further investigation, however, including forensic analysis, would be needed to confirm the use of these ammunitions.

With regard to allegations concerning the conduct of hostilities by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the commission is not in a position at this stage to assess the veracity of the information received concerning indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The commission has not, however, seen evidence to suggest that civilians or civilian objects have been intentionally targeted by NATO forces, nor that it has engaged in indiscriminate attacks.

Finally, the commission feels that, at this stage, it is not in a position to identify those responsible, as requested by the Human Rights Council in the resolution establishing its mandate.

The commission, in view of the time frame within which it has had to complete its work, and considering the gravity and the complexity of the situation, recommends that the Human Rights Council remain seized of the situation by extending the mandate of the commission or by establishing a mechanism with the ability to continue the necessary investigations into both the human rights and humanitarian law situations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for a period of one year.

Page 63:

185. Cluster munitions. The Commission is aware of reports of the use of cluster munitions by pro-Government forces in their attempt to regain control of the besieged city of Misrata. On 15 April 2011, HRW reported that Government forces had fired cluster munitions in residential neighborhoods of Misrata further specifying that the cluster munitions were Spanish produced MAT 120mm mortar projectile, which open in mid-air and release 21 submunitions over a wide area.241 Other independent sources including Amnesty International have confirmed the incident and stated that Spain sold such munitions to Libya in 2007. Further investigation, including military and forensic pathologist expertise is, however, required to confirm or deny the usage of cluster munitions.

241 Upon exploding on contact with an object, each submunition disintegrates into high-velocity fragments to attack people and releases a slug of molten metal to penetrate armored vehicles. Human Rights Watch, “Libya: Cluster Munitions Target Misrata,” 15 April 2011, available from

http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/15/libya-cluster-munitions-strike-misrata.

Page 64:

188. Mortars: Based upon the facts available to it, the Commission believes that Government forces of Libya utilized mortars in their attacks on Misrata and Zintan. Mortars are weapons that kill or maim whoever is within the impact zone after they explode and they are unable to distinguish between combatants and civilians. A decision to deploy them in a location where a large number of civilians is likely to be present, is a decision that a commander should know will result in the death and/or and injuries of some of those civilians.

4. Conclusion

189. From the information available to it, the Commission is concerned that the Libyan authorities have not been undertaking appropriate and precautionary assessments which would, in the Commission’s view, militate against the use of weapons, such as mortars, in densely urban areas. The Commission is also concerned about reports of the use of weapons such as expanding bullets, cluster munitions or phosphorous weapons within highly populated areas. Further investigation, however, including forensic analysis would be needed to confirm the usage of these ammunitions.

Link to Report

 

Will the victims of the NATO bombing of Libya see justice?

Evidence about the nature of the weapons used and contemplated from the HRI investigation and others including the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons is spreading through social media networks – but what can be done to ensure that:

1) Those who commit war crimes are prosecuted
2) The victims of the bombing of Libya get justice and 
3) The future use of cluster bombs by the forces involved in Libya is limited?

Although US and Qatari forces have insulated themselves from the ICC’s jurisdiction, those of other forces involved, importantly including those who have members in the NATO command structure, have not.

Although there are concerns about the way the current ICC prosecutor operates and his exclusive prosecution of Africans his reign is nearing its end and a new prosecutor may be less biased.

Although the USA refuses to sign the Convention against Cluster Munitions, most of the other members of the coalition have signed up. Notably, Italy has recently ratified and Naples is one of the main headquarters of the coalition operation in Libya.

Although the major “crime of aggression” is currently almost impossible to prosecute in international law, due mainly to the larger powers wishing to retain their right to attack weaker nations whenever they wish, other war crimes in international armed conflicts can be prosecuted. Indeed:

The domestic legislation of a large number of states provides for universal jurisdiction for grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Although the mass media eagerly publishes any pro-war propaganda, social media, including blogs, facebook and twitter offer the opportunity for citizens to network, inform and support one another in the fight against human rights abuses and war crimes.

Although the specialised units to investigate war crimes in a number of countries (including Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, USA and Canada) are very slow in producing any results at all, the HRI investigation shows what can be achieved by a citizen-blog in a very short space of time.

Although the US investigation unit cost $2.6 million in 2008/09, the cost of setting up a unit in the UK is estimated as £1.34 million and the costs of investigation have been cited as the main obstacle to setting up units in other countries, the HRI investigation is currently entirely voluntary and expenses so far are minimal.

HRI is linking in with legal rights groups and human rights solicitors and will be publicising information about the best routes for the victims of the conflict in Libya to achieve justice and perpetrators of war crimes in this conflict to be prosecuted.

The investigation continues – to inform, to encourage debate – and also to gather evidence.

On this page, HRI presents some of the evidence relevant to the use of cluster munitions in Misrata in April 2011.

As more information comes to light, and in response to the requirements of the on-going investigation, this page is updated on a fairly regular basis.

Unlike those who jump to instant conclusions based on propaganda and partial truths,  HRI is sceptical and unbiased – which clearly isn’t popular in some quarters.

For those looking for a 100% definite answer as to who fired the munitions into Misrata, this page will be a bit of a disappointment but more about links between the banks, governments, arms traders and the military is being uncovered on an almost daily basis.

The use of cluster munitions in Misrata

On 15th April 2011, during the day, sub-munitions of a MAT-120 cluster munition were shown to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and C.J. Chivers, a journalist for the New York Times, in Misrata. That evening, during ongoing clashes between rebel and loyalist forces, HRW workers witnessed 3 or 4 cluster munitions landing in residential areas of Misrata. HRW attest to further subsequent such bombings.

Initial Reactions

Civilians were reportedly killed in these attacks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned:

“The reported repeated use of cluster munitions and heavy weaponry by Libyan government forces in their attempt to regain control of the besieged city of Misrata.”

She noted that one cluster munition had reportedly exploded a few hundred metres from a hospital in Misrata while another two clinics were apparently hit by mortar or sniper fire.

“Using imprecise weaponry such as cluster munitions, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, and other forms of heavy weaponry, in crowded urban areas will inevitably lead to civilian casualties.”

These attacks were immediately blamed these attacks on the Gaddafi regime and the news has been a front page and first item on the television news around the world.

Here are the relevant HRW and NYT reports:

The Human Rights Watch Report of 15th April on which the Ghaddafi forces fired cluster munitions story has been based.

CJ Chiver’s report on 15th April, ‘Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas’

Fred Abrahams on BBC Radio 4 Today Program 16 April 2011

In response to the question of why he assumed the munitions were fired by Libyan rather than NATO forces, Fred Abrahams said,

“Because the MAT-120 is mortar-fired and NATO has no troops on the ground.”

When initially confronted with the information that cluster munitions had been found in Misrata, Hillary Clinton’s reaction was:

“That is worrying information. And it is one of the reasons the fight in Misrata is so difficult, because it’s at close quarters, it’s in amongst urban areas and it poses a lot of challenges to both NATO and to the opposition.”

The MAT-120 cluster munition

The MAT-120 cluster bomb

The MAT-120 can be fired from a number of smoothbore 120mm mortar systems. A 12omm mortar system is a large calibre mortar, operated by a small team and in service with a number of nations.

The systems which can fire the MAT-120  include the NEMO and AMOS systems mounted in a turret.

Here is the AMOS system mounted on a CB-90 in action:

The combination of the AMOS and the Combat Boat 90H has been described as ideal for fire support in urban environments. As Captain Evin H. Thompson, Commander of US Naval Special Warfare Group Four, said in June 2007, in relation to a specific question about US Navy use of the CB90-H and AMOS system (which fires the MAT-120):

“The Amos or something like that – tied into my reduced signature boat gives special operations and our Navy the ability to clandestinely be someplace with the capability to act if circumstances allow.”

Spanish sales of the MAT-120 to Libya.

Spanish media reports indicate that Instalaza have denied selling these weapons to Libya.

The Spanish Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian (himself linked to a bank who have financed US cluster munition manufacture), has so far failed to meet the HRI request to release details of all exports of cluster munitions.

The Spanish government  needs to confirm exactly what happened to all stocks of MAT-120 produced, where the machinery for making the MAT-120 has ended up, where the MAT-120 was exported to and where they have been stored.

As far as official exports go, a lot hangs on whether the MAT-120 is regarded as a category 3 munition (ML3) – in which case, of the countries to which category 3 exports were officially made in 2007 and 2008, only the USA has not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions and is involved in the conflict in Libya – or if it is categorised as a Category 4 munition (ML4) in which case the USA, Qatar and Libya fit the bill. According to Nicholas Marsh of NISAT, who is an expert in these matters, “There is a blurred division between weapon categories, and especially ML3 and ML4.”

If exports of the MAT-120 were made to Libya, it has to be explained why, who made the decision, how many were sent there, at what time, of which batches and where else these munitions went.

There is additional detail on this in the section on Spanish bombs.

The United States leadership fully approve of cluster munitions

Although Spain has apparently gone to extraordinary effort to try and clear the USA of any involvement in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata, the USA has refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and these weapons are an important part of their arsenal with the USA possessing a large stockpile of cluster munitions.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said cluster munitions are regarded by the US as:

“Legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”

As Richard Kidd, Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State, wrote in “Is There a Strategy for Responsible U.S. Engagement on Cluster Munitions?” April 28, 2008:

“Cluster munitions are available for use by every combat aircraft in the U.S. inventory, they are integral to every Army or Marine maneuver element and in some cases constitute up to 50 percent of tactical indirect fire support.”

Yet, incredibly, the alleged war crime of bombing Misrata is also being used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other authorities to justify an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

The US government position in favour of the use of cluster munitions, their widespread possession by US forces and the weakening of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to accommodate nations fighting in coalition with US forces,  implicates the US government in the use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world.

The Battle for Misrata

As part of the investigation, HRI is looking into both land and naval forces  involved in the Misrata operation, as the specific units involved, operating at night, who made use of the cluster munitions is not yet clear.

There is no doubt that this was fierce urban warfare, with hundreds killed in the battle and NATO, including US Naval forces, about which HRI has written, were deeply involved.

On the 14th of April, NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen confirmed that Admiral Stavridis had briefed foreign ministers that Gadaffi’s forces were now in populated areas and that “to avoid civilian casualties we need very sophisticated equipment.”

Certainly coalition forces were providing fire support and (allegedly) special services support to the rebels in order to secure the town for the rebels and establish a major foothold in western Libya.

Our update on the bombing of Misrata shows that on the eve of the Royal Wedding, NATO admitted to using “certain weapons” within the city of Misrata and some more detail on this has been provided by the RAF.

So it is quite clear that coalition forces were deeply involved in the bombing of Misrata, using deadly force in a civilian area, contrary to the spirit of UN Resolution 1973.

Human Rights Investigations calls for:

1). A full investigation by the United Nations into the use of munitions (including cluster munitions and DU weapons), particularly in urban areas.

2) For all parties in the Libyan conflict to confirm they will not use cluster munitions in the current conflict and to pledge to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

3). Suspension of military personnel found to be involved pending investigation for war crimes.

4). An end to the ‘information war’ and military distortion of the public debate.

5). An end to the ongoing bombing of Libya which is against the spirit and intent of UN Resolution 1973 which was intended to protect civilians, not justify bombing of civilian areas.

The US Navy forces involved in the operation to seize Misrata come under the spotlight as part of the ongoing HRI investigation into the cluster bombing of Misrata.

The main ships involved from the United States Navy – ie “supporting Operation Unified Protector, off the coast of Libya” on the 14th and 15th April are attached to the Kearsarge Amphibious Group – Kearsarge (LHD-3) itself was in port in Augusta Bay, Sicily during the nights on which Misrata was cluster bombed.

The first ship is the USS Barry (DG-52) which is a destroyer and probably the destroyer spotted by CJ Chivers off the coast of Misrata.

Here is USS Barry earlier in the Libyan operation firing Tomahawk missiles into Libya:

Interestingly, the commanding Officer of USS Barry used to be Admiral James G Stavridis, the Admiral who is particularly keen on information wars and controlling the internet.
USS Barry participated in an exercise (FLEETEX 2-94) which involved covert SEAL team extraction in shallow water off the Carolina coast. USS Barry is based at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, also the base of Eva H. Thompson – the commander of Special Warfare Unit Four, who we have quoted before, praising the usefulness of the Combat Boat 90 and AMOS system.

The second ship of interest is the USS Ponce (LPD-15), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock. An amphibious transport dock is a warship that embarks, transports and lands elements of a landing force for expeditionary warfare missions. This ship had something of the order of 851 enlisted servicemen and 72 officers on board.

Interestingly shortly after the Misrata operation, both the skipper and executive officer of USS Ponce, Commander Etta Jones and Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Boenisch, were relieved of their commands.

The third ship, of interest, is the USS Carter Hall (LSD-50) which is a dock landing ship and travelled through the Suez canal to join the others on April 13th, the day before the cluster bombing of Misrata. A dock landing ship is a form of amphibious warship designed to support amphibious operations. These amphibious assault ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel. usually these forces would be marines and/or special forces.

Embarked on these ships were certain units, including the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (26MEU) and Naval Beach Group Two (NBG2), TACRON 21, Four and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO TWO (HSC-22). The commander of the task force was Captain Dan Shaffer – who doubled up as Commander Task Force 65 (CTF-65) and Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 (DESRON60). He is under the command of Admiral Stavridis.

Analysis of official Spanish government documents indicates Spanish company Instalaza may not have exported the MAT-120 cluster weapon to Libya in 2007/08.

In the 2008 report, Libya is listed as a recipient of category 4 munitions (which include bombs) – this is the source of the reports that Libya was provided with the MAT-120 by Spain.

However, the MAT-120 appears not to be a category 4 munition (bomb), but a category 3 one (ammunition for mortar).

Below is an extract from the Spanish National Report on Exports of 2007 showing the way different items are categorised:
 
DESCRIPTION OF THE 22 ARTICLES FIGURING ON THE LIST OF DEFENCE MATERIAL (ROYAL DECREE 1782/2004 OF 30 JULY)

2 Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of 20 mm or more:
Firearms (including pieces of artillery), rifles, howitzers, cannons, mortars, anti-tank weapons, projectile launchers, flame throwers, recoilless rifles, signature reduction devices, military smoke, gas and pyrotechnic projectors or generators and weapons sights.

3 Ammunition, devices and components
Ammunition for the weapons subject to control by articles 1, 2 or 12. Fusesetting devices including cases, links, bands, power supplies with high operational output, sensors, submunitions

4 Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles
Bombs, torpedoes, grenades, smoke canisters, rockets, mines, missiles, depth charges, demolition charges, “pyrotechnic” devices, cartridges and simulators, smoke grenades, incendiary bombs, missile rocket nozzles and re-entry vehicle nosetips.

These categories, used in the Spanish Report, are in line with those of the Common Military List of the European Union:

What does this mean?
This information appears to undermine the contention that the MAT-120, the mortar fired ammunition found in Misrata, was exported to Libya from Spain. In fact, if this reading of the Report is correct, Libya could not have been supplied with the MAT-120.

Of the countries to which category 3 exports were actually made in 2007 and 2008 only the following countries have not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions:

Andorra, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand and the USA.

This information links in to the HRI investigation into who really cluster bombed Misrata.

Barclays Bank is implicated in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata. Analysis of the accounts of Instalaza, the manufacturer of the cluster munitions used in Misrata, by Profundo shows that Barclays Bank has been a major funder of the Spanish arms manufacturer.

In 2007, Instalaza generated annual revenues of € 14.9 million, resulting in a net profit of €0.2 million. On 31 December 2007, Instalaza owned total assets of € 31.8 million. These assets were financed by the following financial stakeholders:

Shareholders: € 17.1 million 53.8%
Banks: € 12.0 million 37.7%
Other: € 2.7 million 8.5%

The banks involved included:.

Deutsche Bank (Germany): €3,068,951
Cajalón, part of Grupo Caja Rural (Spain): €2,692,750
Caja España (Spain): €2,153,297
Caja Mediterráneo (Spain): €1,602,438
Bankinter (Spain): €852,310
Barclays Bank (United Kingdom): €593,978
Ibercaja (Spain): €498,993
Banco Popular (Spain): €299,308
Banco Sabadell (Spain): €87,906
La Caixa (Spain): €33,000
Others €117,856
Total €12,000,787
Source: Instalaza SA, “Depósitos De Cuentas: 2007”, Instalaza SA, 2008.

Some of the bank loans have been repaid since 2007 but the following banks still had loans outstanding on 31 December 2009:

Bankinter
Barclays Bank
Banco Popular
Cajalón
Caja España
Deutsche Bank

Media reports suggest the cluster munitions were fired by Libyan forces. In fact, neither Qatar nor the USA have signed to sign up to the CLuster Munitions Convention.

Under the terms of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, it is a criminal offence to encourage or assist in the development, production or acquisition of cluster munitions. According to the UK government this includes “the direct financing of cluster munitions.” (Chris Bryant, Houses of Parliament, Hansard 7 December 2009

Terms of the Act include:

(1)It is an offence for a person to—.
(a)use a prohibited munition,.
(b)develop or produce a prohibited munition,.
(c)acquire a prohibited munition,.
(d)make arrangements under which another person acquires a prohibited munition,.
(e)have a prohibited munition in the person’s possession,.
(f)transfer a prohibited munition, or.
(g)make arrangements under which another person transfers a prohibited munition..
(2)It is an offence for a person to assist, encourage or induce any other person to engage in any conduct mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (g) of subsection (1)..
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or to a fine, or to both..

Updated 10 June