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NATO confirms attacks on Libyan rebels as U.N. commission to probe rights abuses

04-09-2011 12:49 BJT

TRIPOLI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- NATO Friday confirmed its aircraft bombed a rebel tank column in Libya, while the U.N. Human Rights Council appointed three experts to investigate alleged rights abuses in the conflict-torn country.

Rear Admiral Russell Harding, a NATO military commander, said in Italy's Naples that the alliance's aircraft bombed a rebel tank column near the oil town of Brega on Thursday.

"Two of our strikes yesterday may have resulted in deaths of a number of TNC (the Transitional National Council) forces, who were operating in battle tanks. The incident took place northeast of Brega."

"The situation in this area is still very fluid, with tanks and other vehicles moving in different directions, making it very difficult to distinguish who maybe operating them. In addition, until this time, we have not seen the TNC operating tanks," he said.

The bombing appeared to be the second friendly fire strike by NATO aircraft in less than a week. Last Saturday, a NATO air strike killed 13 rebel fighters near Brega, who were firing into the air to celebrate.

Meantime, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said there was "no purely military solution" for the Libyan crisis.

"It is important to find a political solution ... There is no stalemate, just on the contrary, there is a clear drive from the international community to urgently find a political solution to this conflict," she said.

After the latest NATO mistake, Libyan rebels have painted the roofs of their vehicles bright pink to avoid more friendly fire casualties.

Libyan rebels said Friday they had beaten back an attack by government troops on the eastern flank of the coastal city of Misrata, according to media reports.

Libyan government's armor also attacked areas around Misrata's strategically important Tripoli road.

Thousands of migrant workers were reported to have been trapped in Misrata and faced shortages of food, water and electricity.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated international allies wouldn't dispatch ground troops to Libya, which is locked in a standoff between the government camp and rebels backed by Western air forces.

Hague told BBC radio "there is going to be no ground invasion of Libya, that is forbidden by the United Nations resolution. It is not what the opposition want, and it is not what we want," Hague said.

However, he insisted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would be soon ousted.

"I think time is against the Gaddafi regime. There is no future for Libya now with the Gaddafi regime," Hague said.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council appointed three experts to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.

Egyptian war crimes expert Cherif Bassiouni was appointed as the chairman of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya. The other two experts are Jordanian and Palestinian lawyer Asma Khader and Canadian lawyer and former president of the International Criminal Court, Philippe Kirsch.

The commission is mandated "to investigate all alleged violations of the international human rights law in Libya, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and the crimes perpetrated... all with a view to ensuring those individuals responsible are held accountable."

According to Bassiouni, the commission would conduct investigations in territories controlled by both sides of the Libyan conflict and neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. They intended to talk with civilians, U.N. officials, international government organizations and non-government organizations working in the field.

The report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its next session in June.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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