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UN panel: Both sides committed war crimes in Libya

In this photo provided by the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in Libya, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 at United Nations Headquarters. In this photo provided by the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in Libya, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 at United Nations Headquarters. (AP Photo/The United Nations, Paulo Filgueiras)
March 2, 2012
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GENEVA—A U.N. expert panel said in a report Friday that forces loyal to late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and opposition fighters both committed war crimes during the conflict in the Arab country last year.

The U.N.-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Libya concluded that "international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, were committed by Gadhafi forces."

"Acts of murder, enforced disappearance, and torture were perpetrated within the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population," it said.

Anti-Gadhafi forces also committed serious violations, "including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law," according to the report. Human rights abuses by former rebels are continuing, particularly against those perceived to have sided with Gadhafi, it said.

The panel led by Canadian judge Philippe Kirsch was appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Feb. 25, 2011, to investigate allegations of serious crimes in Libya during and after the conflict.

It also examined claims that NATO's air campaign had resulted in civilians being killed, and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Gadhafi and his son Mutassim.

The panel said it was unable to reach a conclusion on either of those issues citing lack of evidence. The experts urged further investigation, noting that the new government would need outside support to conduct credible probes.

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U.N. panel's report on Libya: http://bit.ly/x0RsgO

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