The United Nations mission to Libya on Saturday urged authorities in the war-wracked North African country to cooperate with a fact-finding team tasked with investigating alleged human rights abuse.
Earlier this week, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet appointed three experts to conduct an independent probe of rights violations in Libya.
"This body of experts will serve as an essential mechanism to effectively address the widespread impunity for human rights violations and abuses committed and can also serve as a deterrent to prevent further violations and contribute to peace and stability in the country," she said, according to a U.N. statement.
The U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Saturday welcomed the appointment of experts Mohamed Auajjar, Tracy Robinson and Chaloka Beyani and urged the "relevant Libyan authorities to extend their full cooperation to the Fact-Finding Mission on Libya."
The investigation was necessary amid the "deteriorating security and the lack of a judicial system" in the country, the U.N. had said this week.
The appointment of the experts "comes at a time when Libyans are in dire need of justice and accountability," UNSMIL said in a statement on Twitter.
"UNSMIL reiterates its strong support for a full and impartial investigation into alleged abuses and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law since the start of 2016."
Oil-rich Libya has been torn by conflict since the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising, with rival administrations vying for power.
The crisis was exacerbated last year when putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who is based in the east of the country, launched an offensive to seize the capital Tripoli, the seat of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
On June 22, the U.N.'s top rights body created the fact-finding mission to document violations committed since 2016.
The move came after GNA forces, with Turkish support, repelled Haftar's 14-month siege of Tripoli and launched a counteroffensive, inflicting several other setbacks on the eastern strongman.
Mass graves were later discovered in areas seized by GNA forces, prompting an International Criminal Court prosecutor to say they may constitute evidence of war crimes.
On June 5, the Libyan army liberated Tarhuna, which was being used as an operation and supply center by militias loyal to Haftar.
Hundreds of corpses were found in the city hospital, a container belonging to the hospital and water well near the city.
The most tragic part in Tarhuna came to light when mass graves were excavated as part of investigations opened by the Libyan government.
The U.N. voiced "horror" after the discovery of mass graves. "UNSMIL notes with horror reports on the discovery of at least eight mass graves in past days, the majority of them in Tarhuna," the U.N. mission said in a statement on Twitter in June.
Tarhuna was the main rear base for a devastating yearlong offensive by Haftar's forces to seize the capital from the unity government.
The Libyan government has repeatedly called on the U.N., the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other human rights groups to demand an international investigation into the mass graves.
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