INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (FIDH)
LIBYAN LEAGUE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (LLHR)
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
the instant, the International Federation of Human
Rights (FIDH) and the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR)
hereby submit a communication brought by our two
organizations against Libya pursuant to Article 55 of
the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Considering the serious and widespread nature of human
rights violations currently occurring in Libya and
mindful of Rule 119.4 of the Interim Rules of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well
as Article 5 of the Protocol to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights on the African Court on Human
and Peoples’ Rights, our two organizations call on the
Commission to urgently seize the Court with the case
Communication: The International Federation of Human
Rights and the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR) Vs
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR)
State against which the Application is filed:
IFHR and its member organization, the LLHR, hereby
submit a communication against Libya
Libya is a State Party to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights since 26 March
Libya is also party to the Convention for
the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa which it
ratified on 11 May 2005.
In addition, Libya is party to the Protocol
to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
regarding the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
since the 8th of December 2003.
that amount to violations of the provisions of the
African Charter and other relevant African instruments
Between 15 and 18 February 2011, many peaceful
demonstrations were organized by the people of Libya to
protest against the authoritarian method of leadership
of the regime.
Libyan soldiers, security forces and revolutionary
guards (pro government militias) suppressed those
demonstrations in blood.
Government forces fired live ammunition at peaceful
crowds killing hundreds of and wounding thousands among
the demonstrators in several towns, particularly in
Benghazi and Tobrouk.
wounded were denied access to hospitals and evacuation
Moreover, government forces engaged in the arbitrary
arrest and detention of thousands of people.
bloody repression led to an uprising among members of
the population against the regime with the support of
some soldiers who refused to obey orders to shoot by
Between 18 February and the date of this communication
(2 March 2011), the Government, in response, used force
including the deliberate targeting of civilians.
bombing orders issued to fighter pilots, as reported by
some of them who had escaped from the country, seem to
point to the fact that Gaddafi had indeed decided to
embark on the widespread elimination of those
participating in the protests and, beyond that, to
ensure the systematic punishment of civilians.
intention to eliminate the protesters is evident in the
statement made by President Gaddafi and his son Seif Al
Islam to wit “rivers of blood will flow”, we
shall wipe out the rats”.
Government authorities used the services of mercenaries
to support their elimination project as confirmed by
numerous testimonies from members of the public.
There is evidence that soldiers had been murdered for
refusing to carry out orders and injured patients had
been killed in hospitals (such as the Central Hospital
and the Sbiaa Hospital in Tripoli).
Bloody confrontations, had occurred in several towns,
inhabitants of Tripoli talked of real “massacres” and
“of armed men shooting blindly” and killing “even
than 100,000 people have sought refuge in Tunisia.
LLHR, in an inexhaustive assessment on 1 March 2011,
reported that there had been more than three thousand
deaths, mainly of civilians, since 15 February.
its 261st meeting on 23 February 2011, the
Peace and Security Council of the African Union firmly
condemned “the indiscriminate and excessive use of force
and of weapons against peaceful demonstrators in
violation of human rights and international humanitarian
law resulting in huge losses in human lives and the
destruction of properties”.
Resolution 1970 (2011) unanimously adopted on 26
February 2011, members of the UN Security Council
denounced “the flagrant and systematic violations of
human rights in particular the repression of peaceful
demonstrators” and held that “the systematic and
widespread attacks occurring in the Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya against the civilian population could
constitute crimes against humanity”.
Provisions of the Charter and other relevant African
instruments violated by the Libyan State
acts set out above represent/manifest violations by the
Libyan State through its army, security forces, militia
and mercenaries, of the following provisions of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and of the
Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa:
Article 4 of the Charter
Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be
entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of
his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this
Article 6 of the Charter
Every individual shall have the right to liberty and to
the security of his person. No one may be deprived of
his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously
laid down by law. In particular, no one may be
arbitrarily arrested or detained.
Article 11 of the Charter
Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely
with others. The exercise of this right shall be
subject only to necessary restrictions provided for by
law, in particular those enacted in the interest of
national security, the safety, health, ethics and rights
and freedoms of others.
Article 23 of the Charter
peoples shall have the right to national and
international peace and security.
Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of
Mercenarism in Africa
the representative of a State is responsible, by virtue
of the provisions of Article 1 of this Convention, for
acts or omissions declared by the aforesaid article to
be criminal, he shall be punished for such an act or
a State is responsible by virtue of the provisions of
Article 1 of this Convention for acts or omissions,
declared by the aforesaid article to be criminal, any
other State may invoke such responsibility:
a. In its
relations with the State responsible, and
Before competent tribunals or bodies of international
organizations or of the OAU.
Need for urgent processing of the communication
In view of the bloody confrontations currently going on
in Libya and the increasingly numerous loss of life
arising there from, FIDH and LLHR submit that this
communication should be treated with the utmost urgency
by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Accordingly, in conformity with Rule 119.4 of the
Interim Rules of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples’ Rights our organizations are of the view that
the Commission should refer this Application to the
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights considering
that the situation brought to its knowledge amounts to
serious and massive violation of human rights and that
Libya is a State Party to the Protocol to the African
Charter regarding the African Court on Human and
Admissibility of the Application
The condition requiring the prior exhaustion of local
remedies (Article 56 of the African Charter) before an
application is deemed admissible carries exceptions
raised on several occasions in the jurisprudence of the
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
This is the case inter alia in a decision on
applications 25/89, 47/90, 56/91 and 103/93 against
Zaire in regard to serious and widespread violations of
human rights in that country; the African Commission on
Human and Peoples’ Rights had affirmed in that regard
that “the Commission had never held that the condition
requiring the exhaustion of local remedies would apply
to the letter when it was neither practicable nor
desirable for the complainant to seize domestic
tribunals in the case of each violation”.
In light of the confrontations currently occurring in
the country and the serious and massive violations of
human rights and the obvious ineffectiveness of the
process of appeal, this communication should be
considered as admissible.
Done in Paris, 2 March 2011