Following a United Nations Security Council resolution on 18 March 2011 to allow foreign military action against Libya, conflict still rages between al-Gaddafi’s forces, rebels based in Benghazi, and international forces attacking from the air. Amnesty International examines some of the human rights issues at stake.
What are the obligations under international law of parties to the conflict in Libya?
There is now an international armed conflict in Libya between coalition forces and the Libyan government.
There is also a non-international armed conflict between the Libyan government and rebel fighters. It is critical that all parties involved in the conflict respect fully international humanitarian law (the laws of war) and applicable human rights law.
All parties must refrain from targeting civilians or civilian objects. They should strictly adhere to the definition of military targets and the prohibition of indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks contained in Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions, which reflect customary international law.