TRIPOLI - Libya's aspirations to replace Muammar Gaddafi's repressive rule with a just, democratic state are being undermined by armed militias who trample on human rights and are outside the government's control, Amnesty International said on Thursday.
The militias spearheaded the rebellion that ended Gaddafi's 42-year rule but they have so far refused to disband. With their heavily armed units patrolling the streets, they have more power on the ground than Libya's official rulers.
Amnesty said in a report that its researchers had documented dozens of cases of militias committing war crimes, torturing detainees and forcing whole communities to flee their homes.
It said Libya's interim leadership, the National Transitional Council (NTC), had to date failed to assert its authority over the militias by investigating the abuses.