A Libyan government official has told the EU Tripoli would allow an independent investigation into allegations of human rights abuses during the uprising against leader Muammar Gaddafi, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.
Pro-Gaddafi forces are pressing a counter-offensive against rebels who have seized towns along the Mediterranean coastal road and across the east, using artillery, tanks and warplanes. The United Nations has demanded an end to “indiscriminate” attacks on civilians and warned Tripoli anyone who violates international law will be brought to account.
There have also been accusations of reprisals against mutinous troops and government opponents.
The EU official said Ahmed Jarrod, head of the EU affairs department of Libya’s foreign ministry, had proposed the independent investigation to the head of EU crisis management, Agostino Miozzo, during an EU fact-finding mission on Monday. He had suggested a UN and an EU evaluation.
“He recommended this mission as soon as possible and he underlined that… they would provide all the assistance, all the logistics, all the security, and the mission will be able to move all over the country,” he told a news briefing.
Gaddafi’s government has denied any abuses of human rights and has accused what it calls “terrorists” of using civilians as ‘human shields’. The EU official said the idea of an independent investigation was backed by diplomats from eight EU countries with embassies in Tripoli — Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Malta and Romania. A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who will chair an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Libya on Thursday, said the possibility of an EU mission was under consideration and a decision would be made in due course.
The European Union, other Western countries and the United Nations have imposed sanctions on Libya and frozen government assets in response to Gaddafi’s crackdown on the rebellion. Reuters