The Libyan killer who defied UN, ICC and international laws

A camera on set, masked fighters surrounding the crime scene, automatic guns in hands, military vehicles and dead calm on the background are all it takes for producing a Hollywood-style or rather an ISIS-style mass execution of captives by the Libyan eastern senior leader of the self-styled army of Khalifa Haftar; Mahmoud Al-Werfalli.

Mahmoud Al-Werfalli carried out on Wednesday a new extrajudicial executions ceremony of ten prisoners who appeared on tape wearing blue, blindfolded with their hands tied to their backs.

On August 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Al-Werfalli for the war crime of murder. He is wanted by the court for his alleged role in the killing of 33 people in seven incidents that took place in and around Benghazi between June 2016 and July 2017.

The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has a mandate to investigate crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor renewed her appeal on last Friday to Libyan authorities to arrest Dignity Operation militias’ senior leader who is wanted by the court for war crimes, after he was linked to a shocking video purported to show extrajudicial killings.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement that she is deeply concerned by a twin car bombing in Benghazi that killed at least 34 people this week and that she is “equally appalled” by images purportedly showing commander Mahmoud Al-Warfalli killing 10 people “in what appears to constitute retaliation” near the site of the bombings.

“I am dismayed that Mr. Al-Werfalli appears to remain in a position of command, and allegedly continues to commit crimes with impunity, despite an official statement from the General Command of the Libyan National Army in August 2017 that Mr. Al-Werfalli had been arrested and was under investigation by a military prosecutor,” Bensouda said.

What made the killing of the prisoners more appalling than the mere murder it is was the fact that the killer Al-Werfalli executed the ten men in the same spot where twin car bombings took place a day before on Tuesday, when 34 people were killed and over 80 others were injured, according to Al-Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi.

The killing was rendered by Human Rights Watch a war crime and an act of retaliation of the Tuesday double bombing, saying “On January 24, accounts appeared on multiple news sites and social media displaying undated photos that allegedly show a commander from the Libyan National Army forces (LNA), Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), appearing to execute 10 individuals, assumed to be detainees as they were dressed in blue prison uniforms.”

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya said on its Twitter that it was alarmed by reports of brutal and outrageous summary executions in Benghazi on Wednesday.

It demanded the handing over of Mahmoud Al-Werfalli immediately to the International Criminal Court in The Hague as it documented at least 5 similar cases, in 2017 alone, carried out or ordered by Al-Werfalli, explaining that those responsible for committing or ordering summary executions are criminally liable under international law.

UN fails again to commit Haftar

The UN, the ICC and different stakeholders from the international community in addition to Libyan parties have more than once called on the commander of the self-proclaimed army in east Libya – Haftar, the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) as well as its Interim Government to hand over Al-Werfalli, whom many Libyans accuse of being a serial killer that does crimes as atrocious as those committed by ISIS terrorists.

However, Al-Werfalli and his commander Haftar are still defying the UN as its envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, was present in eastern Libya and specifically in a meeting with Haftar in Al-Marij city on the same day Al-Werfalli committed his atrocious extrajudicial crime of the 10 prisoners.

Elections: Will they hold?

Meanwhile, Libyans are only left with the choice of going to elections for a president and a parliament that would end the current chaos in the country, however; will these elections hold as the jungle rule continues to prevail in parts of Libya, especially in eastern Libya where Haftar and his militias continue to violate the human nature by killing their fellow citizens just because they have different political views.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Libyan Express's editorial policy.

Abdulkader Assad

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Freelance journalist, writer and linguist.

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