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Iran Press TV

ICC issues arrest warrant for Libya commander

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:58PM

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for the arrest of Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a senior Libyan military commander, over the death of 33 people in the war-torn city of Benghazi.

The Hague-based tribunal said in a statement Tuesday that Werfalli was "allegedly responsible for murder as a war crime in the context of the non-international armed conflict in Libya."

Werfalli, 39, is loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, a former general under long-time dictator Muammar Ghaddafi. Haftar heads the most powerful military in the chaotic Libya and his forces recently managed to retake Benghazi after a three-year campaign against other militant groups.

The ICC judges accuse Werfalli of personally shooting or ordering the execution of people who were either civilians or injured fighters in at least seven incidents in 2016 and 2017.

The judges said in statement that there was no evidence those killed by Werfalli and his forces had faced due trials.

"There is no information in the evidence to show that they have been afforded a trial by a legitimate court, whether military or otherwise, that would comport to any recognized standard of due process," said the statement.

The judges counted as evidence on videos for bringing charges against the Libyan commander. One of the videos, that the judges said depicted an incident involving a total 20 executed persons and was posted on social media on 23 July 2017, showed Werfalli reading from a document before personally commanding a firing squad to shoot 15 people dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods. He then is seen personally executing three people with the help of two other men and then ordering the execution of two others.

In another video, Werfalli personally shoots a hooded and unarmed person.

"You have been misled by he who did you harm. You have been misled by Satan," the Libyan commander is seen in the video telling the dead body afterwards.

The ICC began its probe into the alleged cases of crimes committed during an uprising against Gaddafi in March 2011, when the strongman was still in power. The investigation continued even after the death and ouster of Gaddafi a few months later, an incident which hugely benefitted Gaddafi's opponents in the West but opened the way for various militant groups to vie for power for the years to come and plunged the oil-rich North African country into a large chaos.

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