NEW YORK: Russia blocked a UN Security Council committee from blacklisting a Libyan militia group and its leader for human rights violations because she said she wanted to see more first evidence that they had killed civilians.
The United States and Germany have proposed that the 15-member Libya Sanctions Committee impose an asset freeze and travel ban on the Al-Kaniyat militia and its leader Mohammed Al-Kani. Such a move must be approved by consensus, but Russia has said it cannot approve it.
“Our support for the future is possible, but conditioned by the provision of irrefutable proof of their involvement in the massacre of civilians,” a Russian diplomat told his colleagues on the Security Council in a note.
The Libyan town of Tarhouna, which was taken over in June by the internationally recognized government of national agreement (GNA), had been controlled for years by the Kaniyat militia led by the local Kani family, who fought alongside the national army Libyan based east of Khalifa Haftar. (LNA).
Libyan authorities last month unearthed 12 bodies from four other unmarked graves in Tarhouna, adding to dozens of bodies already unearthed since June.
Libya fell into chaos after the overthrow of NATO-backed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Last month, the country’s two main warring parties – the GNA and the ANL – agreed to a cease-fire.
Turkey supports the GNA. Russia supports the ANL. These foreign powers have been cited in earlier UN documents as supplying weapons in defiance of the arms embargo.
The United States and Germany wrote in their sanctions proposal that international human rights groups and the United Nations political mission in Libya, known as UNSMIL, have “received information that hundreds of human rights violations perpetrated by the Al-Kaniyat militia against individuals, officials, captured fighters and civil society activists in Tarhouna.
“Under the leadership of Mohammed Al-Kani, the Al-Kaniyat militia reportedly committed enforced disappearances, torture and killings.
“In addition, UNSMIL verified numerous summary executions at Tarhouna prison carried out by the Al-Kaniyat militia on September 13, 2019,” the proposal states.
UN negotiations in Libya end without appointing an interim government The border between Tunisia and Libya reopens after seven months.