The UN asked Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to suspend Mahmoud Al-Warfali, a commander of Saiqa Special Forces, accused of having committed war crimes in liberated Benghazi after a video showed terrorist suspects being executed.
Haftar early this month declared victory over extremists in Benghazi after three years of combat. The UN however sounded the alarm over war crimes in the second Libyan city citing extra-judicial killings of prisoners.
“We are deeply concerned that, after recent fighting in Benghazi, people taken prisoner by members of the Libyan National Army, which effectively controls eastern Libya, may be at imminent risk of torture and even summary execution,” said UN human rights spokesperson Liz Throssell.
Mahmoud Al-Warfali has been singled out after he appeared in a series of videos showcasing execution operations by Haftar forces in Benghazi.
In a first video, Warfali executed three kneeling militant suspects in the Benghazi district of Salmania. In other videos, he appeared giving orders for summary executions of alleged terrorists or shooting the prisoners himself, Libya Heralds reports.
“We urge the LNA to ensure there is a full, impartial investigation into these allegations,” Liz Throssell said.
Over the UN outcry, the commander stepped down but the chief of the Special Forces maintained him.
This is not the first time that war crimes are reported in the North African country. After the UN reported incidents, last March, the LNA vowed to investigate and report to the UN. But Liz Throssel complained that the UN has never been informed of the process.
In November last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the UN Security Council that it would increase efforts to investigate cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya by factions vying for power.
The Court’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would reportedly return to Libya to assemble cases for new indictments, some made public and others confidential.