Interim report of fact-finding mission to western Libya
Purpose of fact finding mission.
-To ascertain whether reports of civilian casualties caused by NATO bombing were true or not.
-To Ascertain whether reports of civilian casualties caused by Government forces in western Libya were true or not
-To evidence the sequence of events giving rise to the conflict.
-To ascertain whether government led peace initiatives were substantive
-To gather evidence of the impact of the conflict on civilians and communities.
DIAIRY OF EVENT ACTIVITIES and MEETINGS
Saturday 9th April
Depart from London in the early evening.
Sunday 10th April
Before we crossed the border in the early evening from Tunis, we witnessed at first hand tens of thousands of refugees, encamped on the Tunisian side of the border.
We travelled through Sabratha and Zawia and witnessed the scenes of heavy fighting. We saw numerous munitions and fire damaged buildings and passed through numerous checkpoints.
MONDAY 11th April
We met all day to plan, negotiate and discuss the framework of the mission.
TUESDAY 12TH APRIL .
We visited Green Square where we saw gatherings of people in support of the government. We visited Tajora, Fashloon , Souk al-Jomaa, cited in UN resolution 1973.
In the evening we visited Sobayha Hospital where we met interviewed, filmed and took testimonies from the hospital director, doctors, nurses, patients and relatives. The leader of the delegation took the opportunity to appear on a late night political programme to promote our mission.
WEDNESDAY 13TH APRIL
We travelled to Mezda town and hospital and Gharyan hospital. We interviewed, filmed and took testimonies from the hospital director, nurses, patients, relatives and neighbours of casualties which occurred at the same time as NATO bombing. We filmed bomb damage to the hospital and a number of residential homes. We interviewed and filmed residents of Mezda town. We met with a Libyan-based fact finding commission. We visited Colonel Gaddafi’s Compound and witnessed the site of the 1986 bombing where we also met and witnessed a permanent rally made up of people young and old in support of the government.
THURSDAY 14th APRIL
We travelled to Zawia, We were shown the extensive damage to a variety of government buildings including the Internal Security Building, the police station, the criminal records bureau at the registry office. We recorded a testimony from a professor of law and several local residents.
We spent nearly three hours in the central square of Zawia , where we filmed extensive munitions and fire damage to all of the buildings that surround the large central square.
We recorded testimonies from a considerable number of local residents, and others who had been displaced to Zawia. We witnessed a demonstration in favour the government on which we witnessed a public petition in favour of the government. We also interviewed and filmed migrant workers.
We met with a professor of constitutional law, who outlined the proposed constitution changes to take place in Libya
We met with and interviewed Mousa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesperson.
Following reports of bombing casualties we travelled to Azizya . We arrived at a clinic to be told that the casualties had been transferred to other hospitals. Whilst we were there NATO planes were circling above us. Local people appeared in numbers in the street and told us of a bomb site in the locality from a bombing raid several hours earlier which was close to residential property . We travelled with local people to the site to be shown a bomb crater, approx 150m from several residential properties. We were shown structural damage to several of the buildings and filmed and collected bomb shrapnel fragments from across the whole area. We were shown light structural damage to the buildings. We recorded testimonies from local residents.
SATURDAY 16TH APRIL
We travelled to Bin Walid .We visited the college of electronics where we were given a briefing about the tribal composition of the area and local history .We travelled to the central square we were met by a large demonstration of people in support of the government. We filmed and took testimonies from a number of people. We met and interviewed the relatives of the Abd Raoof Khalfafla Anngart. (25 years) who was killed by rebel forces whilst on the national march for peace.
We visited a sports complex which had been turned into an ad hoc reception camp for refugees from the east. We interviewed filmed and took testimonies from refugee families. We were given a tour of the emergency aid stores.
We met with over 30 Tribal elders and carried out interviews.
SUNDAY 17TH APRIL
We visited 3 schools in Tripoli: a girls and boys secondary school and a primary school. We filmed and interviewed pupils. We witnessed lively pro-government celebrations at all three sites. We filmed some slight structural damage due to local bombing. We met with and held discussions with The Tripoli based fact finding commission NGO into events in Libya.
We met with the association of lawyers from Zawia and Tripoli. We received reports and testimonies, and filmed the meeting. We received a delegation of seven tribal elders who reported that 63 fatalities occurred in the Trajoora, Suk Jooma and Fashloun areas and that civilian properties had been attacked from the air.
They requested us to investigate their story.
MONDAY 18TH APRIL.
We travelled to the three areas cited in UN resolution 1973. We recorded testimonies from residents whose property had been damaged, we were shown the remains of bombs, witnessed structural damage to the building and munitions damage to a terrace wall and garden.
We visited two families whose two sons had been killed on the 26th March in the canteen of the military college reportedly from a NATO attack. We saw the death certificates, then went to the hospital were we recorded a testimony from a doctor that there had been many casualties including 7 fatalities, 5 of which were civilians .We visited another family who relayed to us how their son was killed on the way to the mosque from shrapnel from a NATO attack.
We recorded testimonies from a number of individuals on the streets of Suk Jooma, Trajoora and Fashloun who confirmed that there had been no fighting in the area between government forces and the people and that they were angry that lies had been told in the media about their communities. The also said that the only casualties had been due to NATO bombing.
We met with the deputy foreign minister who outlined the events leading to the crisis in Benghazi and held a general discussion of the peace initiatives being proposed by the government
We have received numerous reports of civilian fatalities and can corroborate civilian casualties and fatalities due to NATO bombing.
Despite detailed investigation we could not find any evidence that the three regions of Tripoli cited in UN resolution 1973 had been subjected to government forces bombardment nor that their had been fighting between government troops and the people , we received many testimonies to the contrary .
In western Libya we have witnessed substantial support for the government by broad sections of society.
There has been a substantial displacement of migrant workers to the Tunisian border and a consequent refugee crisis.
There is displacement of a considerable number of people from towns most effected by the conflict .
We are fairly confident that Libyan Government peace proposal are substantive and sincerely held and we would urge all involved in that process to further the proposals.
By and large life is proceeding normally. Apart from the obvious security restrictions There are no state of emergency powers or curfews in place.
From our initial findings we are concerned that western media outlets are failing in their duty to report on the conflict truthfully
We conclude that there is a need for an independent international fact finding intervention by a professional, credible and acceptable organisation.
We welcome the peace proposals outlined by the African Union, Turkey, BRIC and Latin American countries.
BRITISH CIVILIANS FOR PEACE
10TH -18TH APRIL 2011