One year ago, the notion of a free Libya seemed impossible. But then the Libyan people rose up and demanded their rights…The new government is consolidating the control over the country…So this is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted. And with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility — to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Qaddafi’s dictatorship.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), the current de facto government of Libya, lacks command and control over all armed groups, including those responsible for revenge attacks. As such, the NTC cannot yet establish or maintain the rule of law. The plight of these vulnerable civilians foreshadows challenges to reconciliation, integration, and equal treatment of all in the new Libya. Further, civilians suffering losses during hostilities have not been properly recognized or assisted.
As the rebel-led siege began, civilians were indiscriminately shot at, and many residents without access to communications believed regime propaganda that rebels would kill them if they dared leave. Many rebels and their supporters believed that all civilians remaining in Sirte were loyalists linked to Gaddafi and “were getting what they deserved.”