The bodies were discovered on the grass of the sea-view garden of the hotel and it is believed that they were killed at the very place. The state of decomposition implies that the 53 people were killed around one week prior to their discovery. Some of the victims’ hands were bound with plastic ties.
The city of Sirte, Gaddafi’s last stronghold, experienced intensive fighting during the weeks before his death. On a separate site in Sirte, ten people were apparently executed but it could not be established which side of the conflict was responsible. Medical staff has alleged that executions were also carried out by pro-Gaddafi forces.
HRW has urged the National Transitional Council (NTC) to immediately investigate the apparent mass execution and bring the perpetrators to justice. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) any kind of violence inflicted during an armed conflict on combatants who have laid down their arms or are in detention, constitutes a war crime. Since February 2011, the ICC has jurisdiction for all crimes within its mandate in Libya.