UN SUPPORTS INQUIRY IN SOMALI ABUSES


A United Nations official said on Friday an international commission of inquiry should be set up to investigate war crimes he said had been committed in Somalia.

“I honestly think that there have been very serious war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been committed by most if not all the parties to the conflict,” the U.N. refugee agency’s representative to Somalia, Guillermo Bettocchi, said.

“I certainly think that there should be a mechanism to bring those responsible for that to justice,” he said, speaking at an event in London.

Bettocchi said his personal view was that an international commission of inquiry should be formed to investigate such violations and that the evidence should eventually be handed over to an international criminal tribunal.

Bettocchi, who is based in Nairobi, said there was an environment of total impunity in Somalia. “People in Somalia commit the most serious violations knowing that nothing will happen to them,” he said.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch has also called for a commission of inquiry to probe abuses in Somalia, which has been in chaos since warlords ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other.

U.S. ally Ethiopia sent its army into Somalia to topple an Islamist administration in Mogadishu and rescue the Western-backed transitional government at the end of 2006.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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