The killing of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US embassy personnel in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, should be a wake-up call to the Libyan government on the need to rein in armed groups that have been defying the law in Libya.
Though Libya's recent elections were meant to give its central government new legitimacy and authority, armed groups in Libya have continued to operate with impunity. Benghazi has seen attacks on prominent humanitarian organizations, and in recent weeks armed groups attacked Sufi religious sites across the country, resulting in the destruction of significant Sufi mosques and tombs, while government security forces have been unable and in some instances unwilling to end the violence.
Human Rights Watch staff came to know Ambassador Stevens in 2008 and admired his dedication and courage in working with the Libyan people at a difficult moment in their history, as well as his recognition of the fundamental importance of human rights to Libyans. Human Rights Watch expressed its condolences to the family and friends of Ambassador Stevens and the other victims of the attack, and urged the Libyan government to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.