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Libya, endless impunity

The documentary "Libye, Anatomie d'un crime", Cécile Allegra and Céline Bardet, 2018

In 2015, Cécile Allegra suggested to WWoW that we film the work of Libyan activists and shed light on the phenomenon of systematic rape used in Libya. The filming took two and a half years, due to the many difficulties involved and the security and protection issues facing the protagonists.

The investigation into the film "Libye, Anatomie d'un crime" documented in images the existence of rape as a tool of political repression against many Libyans, but above all it brought to light the existence of the practice of raping men (which no one had been able to document before); through the collection of interviews with many victims who agreed́ to testify on camera, revealing their identity for some.           

The documentary also took apart the mechanics of this tool, the motus operandi, its systematic and organised nature, by also gathering interviews with torturers, who gave details of their "enterprise" and thus confirmed the victims' testimonies. The combination of all these testimonies revealed a complex system in place throughout Libya. The documentary also highlights the work done by Libyan activists to document these crimes, and the immense difficulty in doing so. It also shows the invisibility of the victims, and the total absence of appropriate services, particularly surgical and medical. 


This documentary was broadcast on ARTE in France and Germany in autumn 2018, won the OMCT Prize for Best Documentary at the Geneva International Film Festival on Human Rights (FIFDH) and was broadcast on several foreign national channels.  It was presented at the Bayeux Festival in October 2018 and nominated for the Prix Europa 2018 in Berlin.

It is an effective advocacy tool, all the more so as it was produced in full collaboration with the WWoW organisation and Céline Bardet, herself a co-author of the documentary.         

Documentary trailer : "Libye, Anatomie d'un crime"

Consolidating a network of human rights defenders around the world

In 2014, WWoW began a major and highly productive collaboration and documentation project with Libyan human rights defenders. This network now includes nearly 100 individuals, and 10 civil society organisations. It has acquired a remarkable capacity to document international crimes committed since the 2011 revolution and to identify victims, with a particular focus on sexual violence against men. This has led to the collection of more than 1,800 files which will be integrated into BackUp and analysed for judicial purposes, and to participate in the work of national remembrance. In addition, more than 300 men have been identified as victims of sexual violence requiring medical and sometimes surgical intervention, sometimes for several years. Many victims have yet to be identified.

The universal jurisdiction complaint against Field Marshal Haftar, 2018

Given the lack of concrete action by the ICC and the impossibility of national justice to date, the fight against impunity in Libya may be based on more innovative practices, such as the legal mechanism of universal jurisdiction. Under this principle, a legal entity is competent to prosecute a criminal regardless of nationality or where the crime was committed, provided it meets criteria that vary from country to country. In France, in the case of torture, it is sufficient for the alleged criminal to set foot on French territory.

It was in this context that two complaints were filed against Marshal Haftar, whose militias have committed countless abuses, in April 2018. One of these complaints was filed by We Are NOT Weapons of War and the lawyer Ingrid Metton with the Paris Judicial Court's Genocide and Crimes against Humanity Unit. This complaint is the first admissible complaint in France concerning the Libyan case and is still under investigation.

It aims to trace the chain of command that led, at the end of 2014, to the torture of the complainant by a militia affiliated to Marshal Haftar's Libyan National Army, at a time when the latter was deploying operations "Dignity" and "Snake's Sting" to regain control of eastern Libya. Although the complaint does not include an accusation of rape, it does suggest that universal jurisdiction is a possible way of tracing the perpetrators and prosecuting those responsible for sexual violence in Libya in the future.

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