International Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate Human Rights violations in Libya

Geneva – Three high level experts have been appointed to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya, the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow announced Friday. The Experts are Cherif Bassiouni, Asma Khader and Philippe Kirsch*.

The Council resolved by consensus to establish the independent, international Commission of Inquiry at the end of its Special Session on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on 25 February 2011.

Following the Special Session, acting on the recommendation of the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly suspended the rights of membership of Libya in the Council.

The Commission’s mandate is “to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, and, where possible identify those responsible to make recommendations, in particular, on accountability measures, all with a view to ensuring that those individuals responsible are held accountable.”

The Commission is due to report to the Council at its next session in June.

Ambassador Phuangketkeow called on the Libyan authorities and all concerned parties to fully cooperate with the Commission.

“Impunity fuels violence and instability,” he said. “The pre-eminent experts forming this Commission of Inquiry will serve to investigate the facts of the alleged continuing violations in Libya and aim to bring a measure of accountability and justice to the victims.”

(*)The Members of the Commission of Inquiry are:

Cherif Bassiouni (Egypt) will serve as Chair of the Commission. Professor Emeritus of Law at DePaul University, Chicago, he is a United Nations war crimes expert. He has served the United Nations in a number of capacities, including as co-chair of the Committee of Experts to draft the Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture (1977); chairman of the Security Council's Commission to Investigate War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia (1992-1994); vice-chairman of the General Assembly's Ad Hoc and Preparatory Committees on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995 and 1998); chairman of the Drafting Committee of the 1998 Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court; independent expert for the Commission on Human Rights on The Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998-2000); and independent expert for the Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan (2004-2006).
Asma Khader (Jordanian/Palestinian) is a lawyer by training. She is also well known as a human rights advocate. She founded Mizan Law Group for Human Rights in Jordan, the Jordanian branch of the International Commission of Jurists, in 1998, and she serves on the executive committee of the International Commission of Jurists. She has worked on many international commissions and civil rights organizations; she was a founding member of the Arab Association for Human Rights, a member of the Royal Jordanian Committee for Human Rights; and president of the Jordanian Women’s Union from 1992 until 1996. In 1998 she founded Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan, an international organization to help women in the Muslim world learn technology and access information. In October 2003, she was appointed a minister without portfolio and spokesperson for the Jordanian government. Khader served as minister in 2003 and 2004, then as minister of culture in 2004 and 2005. Her tenure as government spokesperson lasted from 2003 to 2005.

Philippe Kirsch (Canada) is a Canadian lawyer who served as a judge of the International Criminal Court from 2003 to 2009 and was the court's first president. Kirsch is member of the Bar of the Province of Quebec and of the Canadian Council on International Law and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988. He has extensive experience in the process of the establishment of the International Criminal Court, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Kirsch served as Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the International Conference on the Problem of War Victims (1993), Chairman of the preparatory and subsequent Intergovernmental Working Groups of Government Experts on the Protection of War Victims (1993, 1995), and Chairman of the Drafting Committee at the 26th and 27th International Conferences of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (1995, 1999). He was Chairman of the Canadian National Committee on Humanitarian Law (1998 - 1999) and member of the Group of International Advisers to the International Committee of the Red Cross (2000 - 2003). He has extensive experience in the development of international criminal law with regard to issues such as various acts of terrorism; suppression of unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation; unlawful acts of violence at airports serving international civil aviation; safety and security of UN and associated personnel and the taking of hostages.


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