March 11, 2011 / 5:06 PM / 7 years ago

U.N. rights forum names investigative team on Libya

* U.N. Human Rights Council names 3-member panel

* Libya has been suspended from forum for violence

GENEVA (Reuters) The United Nations Human Rights Council Friday named a three-member panel of experts to investigate human rights violations in Libya.

It will be led by Cherif Bassiouni, a U.S.-based professor and war crimes expert born in Egypt who has served on previous U.N. human rights inquiries.

Philippe Kirsch, a Canadian former judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who also served as the first president of the Hague-based tribunal, and Asma Khader, a Jordanian lawyer, are the other two members.

The 47-member Council unanimously launched the international probe on February 25. Days later, the U.N. General Assembly then suspended Libya’s membership in the Geneva forum because of violence by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi against protesters.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Thailand’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva who serves as current president to the Human Rights Council, announced the panel’s composition after negotiations held with regional delegations. It was to report back in June.

He said he would be in touch with Libyan authorities regarding a visit by the U.N. team. “Hopefully everything will be in place in two weeks,” Phuangketkeow told reporters.

But privately, U.N. officials voiced doubts as to whether Libyan authorities would allow the team to travel to Tripoli for talks. However, it was expected to try to gather testimony and evidence from rebel-held territory in the east.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Robert Evans in Geneva; Editing by Matthew Jones

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