UN hints at possible war crimes in besieged Libyan city of Misrata

Libyan government forces are deliberately targeting civilians and medical facilities in the besieged city of Misrata. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says such acts may amount to crimes against humanity. Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

Libyan rebel forces

Libyan rebel forces

The High Commissioner says there is evidence that Libyan forces were using cluster munitions, multiple rocket launchers, mortars, and other forms of heavy weaponry against civilians in Misrata. Ms Navi Pillay says the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and civilians is a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws and may amount to war crimes. She is reminding Libyan forces commanders that with the International Criminal Court investigating possible war crimes — their orders and actions will be subject to intense scrutiny. Ms Pillay has also expressed concern over repeated reports of snipers deliberately targeting civilians in Misrata, as well as in other Libyan towns where street fighting has taken place. The High Commissioner is also calling for an end to the siege on Misrata and the setting up of a humanitarian corridor to send in medical and other relief supplies to civilians trapped in the city. She says the unhindered presence of international observers, including the media, would help calm the situation and curb excesses.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Geneva.

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