Yet More Allegations of Detainee Abuse by Libyan Rebels

Libya’s Transitional National Council has vowed to prosecute the killers of Moammar Gadhafi if crimes were found to be committed. They say they have issued a code of ethics on prisoners of war, and that any violation of that code will be investigated and subject to a criminal trial.

They now have something else to investigate, since the former intelligence chief to Gadhafi has been nearly killed while in custody.

The former intelligence chief to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was seriously injured Tuesday while in the custody of the National Transitional Council, fueling concerns about the treatment of loyalists to the deposed government.

The cause of Abuzed Omar Dorda’s injuries are disputed, but a relative of Dorda, a one-time U.N. envoy, has appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president to intercede with Libyan authorities to protect the former official, saying he had been the target of an assassination attempt by his jailers. The U.N.’s special representative to Libya, Ian Martin, has instructed his staff to look into the claim.

“Mr. Dorda survived a murder attempt last night, 25 October, 2011, at the hands of his guards in the building where he was arrested,” Adel Khalifa Dorda, a nephew and son-in-law of the Gaddafi loyalist, wrote on behalf of the Dorda family. “He was thrown off the second floor leading to several broken bones and other serious injuries.”

The injuries have been confirmed, but most of the information has been classified. It’s hard to know who to believe in these instances, but the track record of those on the side of the Libyan rebels has been pretty abominable. Ian Martin, the UN special representative to Libya, told the UN Security Council that the allegations of summary execution and mistreatment of detainees amounted to “war crimes” on both sides of the conflict, and warranted investigation. Martin added that the killings “were contrary to the orders of the National Transitional Council,” and that he hoped the investigations by the NTC would go forward.

We’re seeing a pattern of abuse of purported Gadhafi loyalists in Libya, I don’t think that’s much in dispute.

In a related story, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to lift the no-fly zone now over Libya on October 31. NATO has eyed that date as well as the end of their mission in the country.

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