OHCHR Investigation on Libya
Terms of Reference
Mandate and reporting obligations
In its resolution 28/30 adopted in March 2015 on “Technical assistance and capacity-building to improve human rights in Libya”, the United Nations Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to “urgently … dispatch a mission to investigate violations and abuses of international human rights law that have been committed in Libya since the beginning of 2014, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such abuses and violations, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability, in coordination with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya”. The resolution further referred to inviting the assistance of relevant experts, particularly the National Council for Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and of special procedures mandate holders.
The Council requested the High Commissioner provide an oral update at its 30th session (September 2015), and a written report on the findings of the investigation at its 31st session (March 2016). The report is also to contain an update on technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation with the Government of Libya, with recommendations for future capacity-building needs that include but are not limited to the justice system and accountability.
In accordance with this mandate, the High Commissioner established the OHCHR Investigation on Libya (OIOL). It is based in Tunis and will seek to visit Libya and other countries as appropriate.
Scope of investigation
The OIOL is mandated to investigate alleged violations and abuses of human rights in Libya. This includes both actions of state and non-state actors. The period under investigation by the OIOL is from 1 January 2014 to the present. The investigation will also take into consideration any contextual and other relevant information that may fall outside this timeframe which may provide a better understanding of events.
The legal framework that underlies the investigation comprises obligations assumed by Libya under international human rights treaties and those standards applicable under customary international law. Where a situation amounts to an armed conflict, it will be necessary for the OIOL to apply international humanitarian law as the lex specialis which operates alongside international human rights law.
Method of Work
In order to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged violations and abuses by all parties, the OIOL will conduct a desk review of existing documents and information, including Government and civil society reports, collect and document victims’ testimonies and the accounts of survivors, witnesses and alleged perpetrators, as well as seeking information from other relevant sources.
In carrying out its work, the OIOL will be guided at all times by the principles of independence, impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity and the principle of “do no harm”. This includes prioritising the protection of victims and witnesses, including by taking all necessary measures and precautions in respect of confidential information.
To provide information relevant to its mandate, please write to OIOL_Submissions@ohchr.org. Please note that in order to meaningfully review information, the OIOL requests that any submissions be transmitted at the earliest date possible, and no later than 19 September 2015. Submissions must include the contact details of the author(s). Submitting entities/individuals should specify if the submissions – or parts of them – should be treated confidentially. Due to translation restraints, submissions are preferred in English, but may also be accepted in Arabic, and should not exceed 10 pages. Should the OIOL require additional information about a specific submission, it will contact its author(s). Any video, audio or photographic material related to the submissions should not be submitted via this email. Please contact the OIOL through email so that alternate arrangements can be made.
Further information can be found at: