In an interview with the French daily Libération, Amnesty International official Donatella Rovera has cast doubt on widely-publicized charges that Libyan government troops loyal to Muammar al-Gaddafi have engaged in mass rape or even used rape as a “weapon of war.” Asked about the charges, Rovera replied:
We have not found cases of rape, which does not mean that there have not been any, but, nonetheless, it is problematic. Not only have we not met any victims, but we have not even met any persons who have met victims. As for the boxes of Viagra that Gaddafi is supposed to have had distributed, they were found intact near tanks that were completely burnt out.
The mass rape charges have been invoked by American Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, and, most recently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The related “Viagra” story appears to have been first publicized by Al-Jazeera. (See the March 27 Al-Jazeera report here.)