Sixty civilians were killed and 55 wounded in NATO airstrikes last year in Libya, said a UN report prepared by a commission that probed human rights abuses and war crimes in the North African state.
The international NATO-led military operation in Libya began on March 19, 2011, two days after the approval of a UN resolution on "targeted measures" to protect civilians from ongoing clashes between forces loyal to former leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels seeking his overthrow.
The report said that NATO “conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties,” but the commission noted incidents of civilian deaths and damage to civilian infrastructure as a result of NATO airstrikes.
“Amongst the 20 NATO airstrikes investigated, the Commission documented five airstrikes where a total of 60 civilians were killed and 55 injured. The Commission also investigated two NATO airstrikes which damaged civilian infrastructure and where no military target could be identified,” the report said.
The deadliest airstrike causing civilian deaths was registered on August 8, 2011 in the coastal town of Majer, where NATO bombs killed 34 and wounded 38 civilians.
“After the initial airstrike killed 16, a group of rescuers arrived and were hit by a subsequent attack, killing 18,” the report said.
On the whole, the commission said in its report that crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed by both the troops loyal to the former leader, Gaddafi, and the rebel forces that fought against him.
“Acts of murder, enforced disappearance and torture were perpetrated within the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population,” the report said.
Ousted Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in October near his hometown of Sirte after being captured by the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) forces.