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The Libyan League For Human Rights
الرابطة الليبية لحقوق الإنسان

الثلاثاء 3 مايو 2011

Widespread use of rape and other sexual violence as tactical war weapon

To Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor
Office of the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court (ICC)
Post Office Box 19519 - 2500 CM The Hague

2 May 2011

Dear Mr. Moreno-Ocampo,

Subject: Widespread use of rape and other sexual violence as tactical war weapon

As you prepare to brief the UN Security Council on June 4th on the progress made by the tribunal for the implementation of resolution 1970 which was unanimously voted by the Council on Saturday, 26 February 2011. It decided, in particular “to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court”. In this context the Libyan League for Human Rights would like to inform you that it has, during the last few days, received from Libya several consistent horrifying reports of widespread sexual assaults by Colonel Qaddhafi’s troops against women and children. Young Libyan girls and boys as young as eight are being raped and abused. Others have been tortured being forced to watch as their fathers were murdered and their mothers raped.

Rape and sexual abuse in general, has been historically recorded as one of the spoils of war, an inevitable feature of military conflict like pillage and looting. What is new about the situation in Libya is the attention it is receiving – and the recognition that it is being extensively used by Colonel Qaddhafi, as a deliberate military tactic against his political opponents and a political weapon to preclude attempts to rebel against his totalitarian rule and to deter defiance to that rule. This is what explains that crimes of rape and other sexual abuses are being committed in particularly sadistic ways to inflict maximum humiliation on victims, their families, and on the whole community: In many cases women and children are abused in their own home, sometimes in front of their relatives. In other cases - as in the aggression against Iman Al-Obeidi the 28 years old the Libyan lady who burst, on the 25th of March into Hotel Rixos in Tripoli where foreign journalists are based shouting that she was raped by colonel Qaddhafi militiamen- victims are held in camps for days and raped repeatedly by gangs of soldiers.

We understand that Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008) considers in its preamble that rape and other forms of sexual violence when used or commissioned as a tactic of war in order to deliberately target civilians or as a part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations, can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of international peace and security. In the same context paragraph 4 that resolution stresses that rape and other forms of sexual violence constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide. That Resolution therefore stressed the importance of ending impunity for such acts as part of a comprehensive approach to seeking sustainable peace, justice, truth, and national reconciliation and called upon all Member States to comply with their obligations for prosecuting persons responsible for such acts, to ensure that all victims of sexual violence, particularly women and children have equal protection under the law and equal access to justice. We trust that your briefing to the Security Council on May 4th will include a chapter on the Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008) in light of the widespread use by the troops of colonel Qaddhafi of rape and other forms of sexual violence as a tactical weapon in the war he declared against the Libyan people. Meanwhile the Libyan League for Human Rights is confident that your office will take the appropriate actions to completely cease all crimes of sexual violence perpetrated by Qaddhafi troops against Libyan women and children.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this pressing matter.

Sliman Bouchuiguir (Ph-D)
Secretary General

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