Libya

  1. ICC drops case against Libya dead war crimes suspect

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced it has dropped criminal proceedings against alleged war criminal, Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, after being convinced of his death.

    In a statement the body said they now consider his death to be an established fact after seeing "witness statements, photographs, and social media material" provided by the prosecution.

    The ICC's first warrant for Mr Werfalli's arrest was on 15 August 2017.

    He "was alleged to have directly committed and to have ordered the commission of murder as a war crime in the context of seven incidents, involving 33 persons" in Libya.

    He was also allegedly involved in an eighth incident when he allegedly shot dead 10 people, the ICC says.

    He was an alleged commander of Libya's elite al-Saiqa army brigade - a special unit within the country's national army.

  2. Joy in Libya as first skatepark opens in Tripoli

    Person on skateboard
    Image caption: Skating is quite popular in Tripoli, says Samantha Robinson

    The project organiser behind Libya’s first skatepark which opened over the weekend in Tripoli has told the BBC’s Newsday programme that it was a dream come true because skaters in the country had wanted to build a skatepark there “since about 2013”.

    “It’s a place where there are skateboarders who are interested in promoting the sport in their country and they really wanted one,” Samantha Robinson from MakeLifeSkateLife said.

    She said the sport was quite popular in Tripoli, and before the park people used to do it on the street, but this can be dangerous.

    “Creating a safe space that’s also one that is open and inviting to young people as well as girls was the goal here.”

    She also added that there was “definitely a gender divide” when it came to skating in Libya.

    The park is decked with equipment as well as ramps, rails and flat bars, she said.

    MakeLifeSkateLife has also set up programmes with local skateboarders to teach classes.

    She said the purpose behind building the park was to bring people “joy” and “happiness”.

  3. Clashes in Libya as rival PM tries to take power

    BBC World Service

    Libya's Fathi Bashagha attends an interview with Reuters in Tunis
    Image caption: Fathi Bashagha was named prime minister by an eastern Libya-based parliament

    There's been a brief outbreak of factional fighting in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

    Members of an eastern faction arrived overnight in an attempt to claim power.

    They then left the city after several hours of clashes.

    The armed escort had accompanied Fathi Bashagha, who was named as prime minister by a parliament based in eastern Libya.

    He has been trying to take over from Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who was appointed prime minister after UN-brokered negotiations last year.

    Mr Bashagha says his western rival forfeited his claim to office when he failed to hold elections as scheduled.

  4. Libya MPs want rival PM to work from Sirte amid row

    BBC World Service

    Fathi Bashaga
    Image caption: Fathi Bashagha is a former interior minister

    Libya's eastern-based parliament has said it wants the government it appointed under Fathi Bashagha to be based, for now, in the coastal city of Sirte.

    The announcement is the clearest acknowledgement yet that Mr Bashagha cannot yet take over in the capital, Tripoli.

    Libya has been split between two opposing cabinets after parliament in the east elected Mr Bashagha as the new prime minister in February.

    The country’s incumbent Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who is based in the capital, has refused to hand over power without an election.

    Both men are supported by armed factions and it is feared hostilities between the two could ignite a new round of conflict.

    Libya has experienced repeated violence ever since long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011.

  5. Top Libyan militia accused of atrocities in Tripoli

    BBC World Service

    Amnesty International has accused a powerful armed group in Libya of what it describes as shocking crimes against migrants and residents of the capital, Tripoli.

    The state-funded Stability Support Authority (SSA) has carried out unlawful killings, torture, forced labour and arbitrary detentions, it says.

    The SSA was created under a decree by former Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj in January last year.

    Amnesty has written to the Libyan authorities demanding that its leader, Abdul Ghani al-Kikli, be removed from his position.

    It says he has a well-documented criminal history.

    Militia groups have held sway in many areas of conflict-plagued Libya since the ousting and killing of the country’s long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

  6. Landmines continue to kill in Tripoli - rights group

    At least 130 people, mostly civilians, have been killed by landmines and other explosives left after heavy fighting in 2020 around the Libyan capital Tripoli, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

    The explosives were scattered in the suburbs of Tripoli during heavy fighting in 2019-2020, when military strongman Khalifa Haftar tried to capture the capital.

    "Forces allied with Khalifa Haftar laid landmines and improvised explosive devices that have killed and maimed several hundred civilians including children, and hinder southern Tripoli residents from returning home," said HRW's Libya director Hanan Salah.

    A landmine is exploded during Turkish demining operations in the Salah al-Din area, south of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on June 15, 2020
    Image caption: Turkey has helped to remove landmines in Tripoli
  7. Libya's rival cabinet meets in challenge to Tripoli

    The rival government in Libya has held its first meeting in the latest challenge to the UN-backed administration based in the capital, Tripoli.

    Since February, Libya has again been spilt between two opposing cabinets after parliament in the east elected Fathi Bashaga as the new prime minister, while the incumbent Abdulhamid Dbeibah refused to step down.

    At the first session of his cabinet in the southern town of Sebha, Mr Bashagha declared that a new era was beginning in Libya after chaos and tyranny.

    But there is widespread concern that the country could face new unrest after the UN-sponsored political roadmap was cast into doubt by the failure to hold planned elections in December.

    A view of the city of Sirte, which is under control of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces, in Libya on December 06, 2021.
    Image caption: Libya has been hit by conflict since the killing of long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011
  8. Libya oil production hit amid worsening protests

    BBC World Service

    Smoke rises form the headquarters of Libyan state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC) after three masked persons attacked it in Tripoli
    Image caption: Production has stopped at oil fields and energy facilities across the country

    Libya’s National Oil Corporation says that a wave of protests affecting the energy sector are likely to get worse.

    At least four separate groups have stopped production at oil fields and energy facilities across the country.

    The protesters want Libya's Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah to hand power to a rival government led by Fathi Bashagha which was formed last month.

    The two governments have been competing for power since Libya's parliament elected Mr Bashagha prime minister.

    But Mr Dbeibah says he still has a mandate to govern until national elections scheduled for June.

  9. EU urged to treat African refugees like Ukrainians

    A Libyan woman stands next to the remains of a dingey and life jackets that washed up on the beach after dozens of migrants drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Sabrata
    Image caption: Hundreds of African migrants die every year trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe

    The head of the UN refugee agency has asked Europe to be generous and welcoming to other migrants, just as it has with Ukrainian refugees, following the death of dozens of African migrants at sea.

    It comes after 90 people died in international waters of the Mediterranean sea after setting off from Libya in an overcrowded boat.

    The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières said that only four people were rescued from the raft on Saturday.

    The UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, said Europe had hosted Ukrainian refugees “generously and effectively” and should consider the same for other refugees.

    "It must now urgently consider how to apply this to other refugees and migrants knocking, in distress, at its doors" he tweeted on Sunday.

    Thousands of African migrants have been trying to cross the Mediterranean in recent years in search for a better life in Europe.

    Some manage to reach their destinations but hundreds die each year in the perilous journey in overcrowded, often unseaworthy vessels.

    The European Union has faced criticism for its close cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard to cut numbers of migrants arriving on European shores.

    Many migrants face further horrific abuses in Libyan detention centres on their return journey.

  10. UN uncovers new evidence of mass graves in Libya

    BBC World Service

    Libyans walk around graves dug on the ground from which bodies were recovered in the western town Tarhuna on February 9, 2022
    Image caption: The mass graves are thought to contain the bodies of migrants

    UN investigators have uncovered new evidence of mass graves thought to contain the bodies of migrants at a trafficking point in north-west Libya.

    The organisation’s fact-finding mssion said the discovery - in the town of Tarhuna - provided further evidence that human rights violations in Libya are “widespread, systematic or both.”

    The findings have been presented to the Human Rights Council.

    Libya – a major hub for migrants trying to reach Europe - has been experiencing ongoing violence and instability since the toppling and killing of the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi more than a decade ago.

  11. Rwanda takes in 120 migrants from Libya

    Emmanuel Igunza

    BBC News

    Migrant from Libya
    Image caption: In 2019 the UN called for the closure of Libyan migrant detention centres, describing them as unfit for purpose

    Nearly 120 asylum seekers have been evacuated from Libya to Rwanda in the first such flight of the year.

    The group of men, women, and children - the youngest less than one-year-old - were from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.

    Most had been living in urban areas of Libya's capital, Tripoli, and others had been arbitrarily held in detention, some for several months.

    The group evacuated on Tuesday night will join another 269 refugees and asylum seekers in Gashora, where the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) provides assistance including shelter, food and medical care

    “These evacuation flights out of Libya continue to provide hope and safety to refugees and asylum seekers trapped in Libya,” said Djamal Zamoum, the UNHCR’s acting chief of mission in Libya.

    Detainees in various Libyan migrant centres have previously described routine torture, rape, malnutrition and the spread of diseases like tuberculosis because of conditions they are forced to endure there.

    Campaign group Amnesty International had called conditions "horrific" and "inhuman".

    The Libyan authorities responded by announcing the closure of three large detention centres in Misrata, Tajoura and Khoms in 2019.

    Rwanda has taken in more than 900 asylum seekers since mid-2019 when it signed an agreement with UNHCR and the African Union.

    Libya has for years been used as a transit route for thousands of people trying to reach Europe. The majority will try to cross over the Mediterranean Sea but many do not make it.

    The International Organization for Migration says more than 215 migrants have been reported dead or missing in the central Mediterranean since the beginning of this year.

    Read more:

  12. Rights abuses widespread in Libya amid repression - UN

    BBC World Service

    A new UN report has found that human rights violations in Libya, especially in places of detention, continue to be widespread.

    The report found many cases of enforced disappearance, torture and rape of detainees in facilities maintained by the authorities or rival militias.

    The people responsible for the abuses were not prosecuted but merely moved to other posts, according to the report.

    The UN fact-finding mission says that repression and intimidation of activists, lawyers and journalists seems to have risen since presidential elections were postponed in December, putting UN-backed moves towards greater stability in renewed jeopardy.

    A man at an anti-slavery march in France, in 2017.
    Image caption: Footage of a slave auction in Libya sparked global protests in 2017
  13. Disputed Libyan leader promises to boost oil output

    BBC World Service

    Newsroom

    A oil worker in Libya - archive shot
    Image caption: Libya's immense oil wealth has been squandered in recent years as rival factions fight for control of the country

    The head of Libya’s government of national unity, Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, has pledged to boost the country’s oil output - and called on Twitter for fellow Opec countries to do the same.

    But his administration’s ability to put the policy into action is in doubt.

    The Libyan parliament swore in a rival government earlier this month despite Mr Dbeibah’s refusal to leave office.

    A UN-backed roadmap to try to end the rift between rival factions in Libya has floundered since scheduled elections failed to go ahead in December.

    Libya has the world’s ninth largest oil reserves.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently visiting Gulf states to persuade leaders there to help the West reduce its reliance on Russian oil and gas.

  14. UN urges Libya rivals to appoint joint committee

    Fathi Bashaga at a press conference in Tripoli.
    Image caption: Fathi Bashaga, pictured, was sworn in as PM despite the incumbent incumbent premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah refusing to step down

    The UN adviser on Libya has invited rival factions to come together to try to resolve the country's constitutional arrangements, as a political process to restore stability has foundered.

    Stephanie Williams has sent letters to parliament and the High State Council, which represent separate administrations, to each nominate six members for a joint committee.

    The move comes the day after Fathi Bashaga was sworn in as the new prime minister nominated by parliament in the east of Libya, even though the incumbent premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah in Tripoli has refused to step down.

    More about Libya:

  15. Rival Libyan PM sworn in as tensions mount

    BBC World Service

    Newsroom

    A rival government in Libya has been sworn in as a showdown with the existing administration seems set to intensify.

    Fathi Bashaga took the oath of office as prime minister in the eastern city of Tobruk, where Libya's parliament elected him last month.

    Incumbent Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah has said that he will not step down.

    A UN-backed roadmap to try to end the rift between rival factions in Libya has been in doubt since scheduled elections failed to go ahead in December.