The stunning but unproven claim that Libya's Muammar Qaddafi gave Viagra to his forces and ordered them to rape obscures a series of war crimes by his forces.
Allegations that Muammar Qaddafi ordered the mass rape of women and passed out Viagra to his troops to give them more zeal for the task have been widely cited – most recently by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
But independent researchers who have sought to corroborate the claim in Libya now say they have found no evidence to back it whatsoever.
Donatella Rovera, a senior researcher for Amnesty International, spent three months in Libya this spring and has contributed to a string of reports that show Mr. Qaddafi's forces have engaged in a series of war crimes.
Qaddafi's forces have indiscriminately fired missiles into civilian neighborhoods, dropped cluster bombs on them, and laid antipersonnel mines in areas filled with civilian foot traffic, all against the laws of war. Hundreds of Libyans, at least, have disappeared at the hands of Qaddafi's government since the uprising began. And Qaddafi has a well-documented history since he seized power in 1969 of using torture to suppress dissent.
But despite Amnesty's extensive efforts – and pressure from donors and foreign governments – to verify the claims of mass rape, the organization has come up short.
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