CAIRO ( Associated Press) – Human Rights Watch called on the International Criminal Court on Tuesday to investigate allegations of the use of landmines in 2019 by Russian paramilitary forces fighting in Libya.
Libyans linking Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries to the use of “banned booby traps” in Libya during an attack by east-based Libyan forces trying to capture the Libyan capital, according to a New York-based watchdog New data has emerged from the demining groups of. from rival militias.
The Wagner group supported the offensive of east-based forces led by Commander Khalifa Hifter, who was also supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia at the time. Hifter’s offensive collapsed in the spring of 2020, when Turkey and Qatar extended their military support to their rivals in western Libya.
Libya was in turmoil after a NATO-backed insurgency in 2011 that toppled dictator Moammar Gaddafi, who was later executed. It has been split between rival administrations over the years, each with the support of various militias and foreign powers.
Lama Fakih, HRW’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said a “transparent and international” investigation is needed to investigate the use of land mines around Tripoli.
A demining group with the Tripoli-based Defense Ministry reported that between May 2020 and March 2022, at least 130 people were killed and 196 injured, mostly civilians, in mines and other explosive ordnance in Tripoli’s southern suburbs, the group said. .
HRW cited a tablet left on the Libyan battlefield by a Wagner mercenary that contained maps of the locations of 35 unmarked anti-personnel mines. The tablet was acquired by the BBC in early 2021. a United Nations panel of experts Earlier this week it had said that it considers the device to be authentic.