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Libyan Army accused of ‘war crimes’

Libyan Army General Khalifa Haftar's army exhumes body of Benghazi Shura Council commander Jalal Makhzoum from his Ganfouda grave and disfigures him on 18 March 2017 [The Libya Observer/Twitter]
Libyan Army General Khalifa Haftar's army exhumes body of Benghazi Shura Council commander Jalal Makhzoum from his Ganfouda grave and disfigures him on 18 March 2017 [The Libya Observer/Twitter]

The Libyan National Army (LNA) has been condemned for its “heinous” crimes after it paraded the mutilated bodies of Islamist fighters around the city of Benghazi after regaining control of the city.

The exhumation and reported mutilation of the corpse of Islamist leader Jamal Makhzoum has been condemned as a war crime by the Libyan Nation Commission for Human Rights (LNCHR).

In another video that has been widely-shared online, the decomposing body of Makhzoum is seen strapped to the front of a car and then paraded by LNA fighters shooting guns in the air in celebration.

The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) confirmed this week that their former leader Makhzoum had been killed in Ganfouda.

The LNCHR described the incident as a “despicable and heinous crime incompatible with human values” and a “flagrant violation of the rules of law and international humanitarian law.”

Article 15 of the 1949 Geneva Convention states that parties in conflict must prevent bodies from “being despoiled” when dealing with dead.

Photographs have been circulated showing dead militants thrown on top of each other and others sprawled across the ground with LNA fighters posing with the bodies.

Calls for an investigation

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari yesterday confirmed that a mass grave of Islamist militants, including Ansar Al-Sharia commanders and the corpse of Makhzoum, were recovered by the forces loyal to military leader Khalifa Haftar.

The LNCHR called on the Benghazi attorney-general and the House of Representatives to open an investigation into the crimes immediately.

The Justice and Construction Party condemned the army’s actions and called on human rights organisations to investigate and Presidency Council head Fayez Al-Sarraj damned the behaviour of the LNA troops in Ganfouda in a televised speech.

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