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Libya: Haftar assigns war criminal to recruit soldiers

April 29, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Libyans protest against Khalifa Haftar who launched a campaign to capture capital Tripoli, on 26 April 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar has assigned an officer wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to recruit new soldiers, Anadolu reports.

Mahmoud Al-Werfalli went to Bani Walid province, south of Tripoli, with a large amount of money to recruit more soldiers for the renegade commander, said pro-Haftar accounts on social media.

Al-Werfalli was accused of murder as a war crime in Libya in 2016 and 2017, according to the ICC.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Al-Werfalli in August 2017 for eight Daesh/ISIS-style executions recorded on camera in Benghazi and Derne provinces.

Videos doing the rounds on social media showed the victims clad in uniform, blindfolded and tied. They were shot in the head point-blank after being found guilty in a mock trial.

READ: Is Haftar’s stubbornness behind his military setbacks? 

When these videos emerged in 2017, France, Italy, the UK and the US called on Libyan National Army (LNA) to “ensure that the investigation is carried out fully and fairly; and those responsible for the unlawful killings are held to account.”

Haftar unilaterally declared himself the ruler of Libya on Monday, claiming that he “accepted the mandate of the Libyan people” and terming the 2015 UN-brokered Skhirat agreement for a unified government in the country “a thing of the past.”

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya, supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

Haftar’s self-proclaimed LNA launched a failed offensive to take Tripoli last April, which caused bloodshed and suffering but stalled on the outskirts of the city.