World Bank recognises Libya's new rulers

Tripoli - The World Bank said on Tuesday it recognises the National Transitional Council as Libya's official government, after the new regime promised moderate Islamic rule and to investigate alleged war crimes.

Explaining its decision was based on "evolving events in Libya and the views of member countries", the bank pledged a major rebuilding role after seven months of an insurrection that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The move came as the NTC sought the surrender of Gaddafi diehards who have been mounting attacks against its fighters from a few enclaves including the oasis town of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli.

Gaddafi, wanted for alleged crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, remains in hiding but many of his inner circle and one of his sons have fled to neighbouring Niger.

But the pro-NTC forces who brought down the Gaddafi regime found themselves on Tuesday also accused of committing war crimes by the London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Amnesty said in the first days of the uprising groups of protesters killed a number of captured soldiers and suspected mercenaries.

"Some were beaten to death, at least three were hanged, and others were shot dead after they had been captured or had surrendered, Amnesty said in a report.

"The NTC is facing a difficult task of reining in opposition fighters and vigilante groups responsible for serious human rights abuses, including possible war crimes but has shown unwillingness to hold them accountable," it said.

But Amnesty acknowledged the atrocities allegedly committed by the now governing opposition were of a "smaller scale" than those carried out by Gaddafi’s regime, which it says may be responsible for crimes against humanity.

The NTC responded by vowing to investigate the allegations, while acknowledging "there are a small number of incidents involving those opposed to Gaddafi".

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