Human rights lawyers provided evidence Tuesday to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors saying that forces loyal to the Libyan strongman in eastern region are responsible for crimes including murder, torture and persecution.
Toby Cadman of the Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers presented to the ICC a dossier, including witness statements, seeking an investigation into the role of Haftar and his forces in the alleged abuses.
Haftar leads forces in eastern Libya under Dignity Operation which is loyal to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, which is at odds with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli.
Cadman’s organization said in a statement that there are “credible reports, underpinned by first-hand evidence that individuals within the chain of command have, and continue to commit war crimes and/or crimes against humanity in their pursuit of power.” The Associated Press reported.
The ICC already has an investigation underway in Libya that has identified alleged crimes by one of Haftar’s subordinates. The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, told the United Nations Security Council last week that investigations in the country will be a priority for her office in 2018.
“Reports indicate widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law being perpetrated by different parties to the conflict,” Bensouda said. “Often, the victims are civilians.”
The ICC issued an arrest warrant in August for Mahmoud al-Warfalli, who heads an anti-terrorism unit under Haftar. Al-Warfalli, who has not yet been sent to the ICC, allegedly was involved in the killing of 33 captives in “cold blood” earlier this year.
Cadman said that Haftar’s role in seeking peace should not be allowed to stand in the way of a possible prosecution, according to AP.
“We would argue that he is one of the destabilizing forces in Libya,” Cadman said, added AP.
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