Part 2 of 2, Part 1 is below. By Liz Lucas
“Where are the human rights?” asked Ali Ali Mustafah. He has filled one of the few remaining rooms in his house with photos of the dead, including children.
As I count the photos, a young man draws my attention to a smaller photo I missed. It is his brother, killed in the strike—another civilian, he says. There are 28 photos on the wall of Ali’s house, though he says not everyone who was killed has their photo up yet. The dead included one pregnant woman and many other women and children.
Many of the dead in Zlitan—women, children—were reportedly civilians. But verifying who and what was hit is tricky business in locations that were virtually obliterated and when the dead are quickly buried according to Muslim tradition. So far NATO has admitted very few casualties from its strikes in Libya.
In Zlitan the families of the dead mostly want to know why. Other than the removal of bodies the scene has been left virtually untouched, a memoriam. Cars are twisted heaps of metal. Bits and pieces of the families’ lives can be seen through the rubble.
Still, there has been no investigation of the incident. There has been no compensation or outreach to the injured.
While there is no damage estimate, survivors say that compensation would be appreciated particularly to help the injured. Mostly, however, they want answers on why they were targeted.
At CIVIC we believe that NATO should immediately investigate these instances. Even if these houses prove to have been legitimate military targets, NATO should provide support to the families of any civilians found to be harmed. While no one can bring back the families lost, material support, along with an explanation and apology, can be given to help survivors start again.
“Children, families, what crime did they commit?” asked Ali. “Imagine this was your house and your family.”