Martin Kobler Ganfouda Appeal


On February 8, 2016 Kobler held a press conference at the UN Security Councel (UNSC). Inner City Press’s UNSC investigative reporter Matthew Russell Lee asked Kobler about the UN’s relationship with General Khalifa Haftar and what the UN was doing to protect civilians in Ganfouda. Lee was referring to recent allegations of Kobler and UNSMIL’s disregard for civilian lives for Libyan political gains.

Kobler upsettingly gave no account of the multitudes of civilian killings by indiscriminate attacks by the LNA on civilian homes since July 2016. Kobler did not comment of the humanitarian crisis confirmed by many credible organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN OCHA. Kobler did not recognise violation of international law. Instead Kobler reinforced that Haftar is an important part of the Libyan united army. Instead Kobler recognised the lives lost by the LNA in their fight on terrorism. Instead Kobler defended Haftar and expressed support for him.

Currently 12-15 families remain entrapped in Ganfouda and many of those who left have been detained in Benghazi’s Kuwaifiya prison. Yesterday’s response by Kobler reinforced Haftar’s belief that he can violate international law with impunity. Ganfouda civilian families have been placed in further risk if the UN has chosen to discount the value of their lives in support of General Khalifa Haftar.

Kobler’s judgment and lack of action on Ganfouda has come with significant costs to civilian life and Libya’s future. Unless the UN changes its tone and facilitates a solution to the Ganfouda tragedy it may only be remembered as another failure of the United Nations, following Aleppo and Sebrenica.

The UN’s praise of Haftar and his officials, many of whom are under consideration for war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court,  amounts to a fatal breakdown of a vital independent international institution that protects human rights above and beyond all political mandates.

Video of press conference:

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