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NTC denies accusations of war crimes

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) has denied accusation it is targeting black immigrants and dark-skinned Libyans in its hunt for Gaddafi loyalists.

Gaddafi is thought to have hired mercenaries from Sub-Saharan countries, including Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan to fight the Libyan rebels.

The rebels have been accused of committing war crimes, after summary arrests and executions of black migrants and Libyans were detailed in a report by Amnesty International.

'Members and supporters of the opposition, loosely structured under the leadership of the National Transitional Council (NTC), based throughout the conflict in Benghazi, have also committed human rights abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes.

Angry groups of supporters of the '17 February Revolution' shot, hanged and otherwise killed through lynching dozens of captured soldiers and suspected foreign 'mercenaries'-and did so with total impunity.

Sub-Saharan African (blacks) nationals continued to be attacked on what have proved to be largely unfounded suspicions that they were 'mercenaries' hired by Col Gaddafi,’ said Amnesty.

Amnesty also accused Western media of ignoring and covering up the abuses committed by the NATO-backed rebels, since they gained control of large parts of the country.

The NTC has denied any war crimes were committed by rebel forces.
Minister of Justice and Human Rights of the NTC Mohammad al-Alagi claimed at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"There have been no war crimes (by anti-Gaddafi forces)...The Gaddafi regime declared war on the Libyan people, and used foreign mercenaries, but when captured they will still have the right to an appropriate trial before an ordinary judge and according to international law."

The reports of war crimes are worrying for the countries that continue to assist the rebels.

However, US ambassador to the UN, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, re-iterated support for the rebels.

"The important point today is that we have a new government and we have a credible partner to work with and to encourage in Libya," she told reporters.

"That is where our emphasis will be in the near term -- to make sure that this new government gets off on the right foot and lives up to its responsibility with respect to accountability and creation of a secure situation for all."