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ICC condemns Libya for not handing over war criminals

November 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

The son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi Saif al-Islam (R) sits with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi (not seen) as they attend a ceremony to mark the arrival of water from the Great Manmade River (GMR) in the southern Libyan city of Ghiryan, 18 August 2007. [MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images]

The International Criminal Court has criticised Libya for failing to hand over three Libyan war crime suspects, including Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam and Saiqa Special Forces Major Mahmoud Werfalli.

Speaking at the UN Security Council yesterday, the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, criticised how it has not been able to try the suspects because the figures have not been handed over despite warrants for their arrest.

Bensouda called on the Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar to prove his good faith by handing over Werfalli who is accused of organising summary executions of prisoners which was filmed and uploaded on social media.

Subsequently the ICC issued a warrant for Werfalli’s arrest in August but the LNA, led by Haftar, has failed to hand him over after calling for an internal investigation instead which has reportedly failed to find him guilty or prevent him from continuing work in the region.

Lawyers blast Libya’s inability to investigate war criminals

Bensouda said Haftar needed “to demonstrate, by concrete actions, respect for international justice by ensuring Mr Al-Werfalli’s immediate transfer to the Libyan authorities so that he may be surrendered to the court [the ICC] without delay.”

As well as Werfalli, the ICC has sought the arrest of Saif Al-Islam and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, the head of Qaddafi’s internal security agency, both of whom face war crimes charges.

Saif was tried in absentia in a Tripoli court and found guilty and was initially sentenced to death. However, he was released in June by those who had captured him during the 2011 uprising. He is currently living in the west of Tripoli suffering from “depression” according to the Libyan Herald.

The ICC has demanded that Saif be handed over for trial in The Hague because of the unlikelihood he would face a fair trial in Libya.

The ICC also indicated its “concern” at the recent reports of killings, torture and prolonged detentions without trial as well as the treatment of migrants in the country in official and unofficial camps.

Last month 36 bodies were discovered dumped beside a road near the city of Benghazi which showed signs of torture and indicators they had been shot in the head.