By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 19 March 2017:
The exhumation and apparent mutilation of the corpse of Islamist leader Jalal Makhzoum has been condemned as a “heinous” war crime by the Libyan Nation Commission for Human Rights (LNCHR).
In a widely-shared social media video, the clearly-decomposing body of Makhzoum is shown strapped to the front of a car, kicked and then paraded by Libyan National Army (LNA) fighters. In an act of celebration they also shoot their guns in the air.
The LNA is accused of committing a war crime by the LNCHR, who described the incident as a “despicable and heinous crime incompatible with human values.”
Article 15 of the first 1949 Geneva Convention states parties to conflict when dealing with dead bodies must “prevent their being despoiled.” The LNCHR argued it was a “flagrant violation of the rules of law and international humanitarian law.”
In other photographs, dead militants can be seen thrown on top of each other, sprawled across the ground. LNA fighters also pose with the bodies and take ‘selfies.’
The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) announced this week that Makhzoum, their former leader, had been killed in Ganfouda.
LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said yesterday they had found a mass grave of Islamist militants, including Ansar Al-Sharia commanders and the corpse of Makhzoum. Mismari said the Red Crescent was going to be recovering the other bodies.
Many social media users have said how disgusting the footage is. Some compare the behaviour of the soldiers to that of the so-called Islamist State. Images of hanged and mutilated corpses from the Qaddafi era have also been shared.
There has in addition been condemnation of the silence thus far of international diplomats.
The LNCHR called on the Benghazi attorney-general and the House of Representatives to open an investigation immediately.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Justice and Construction Party deplored the incident and in its turn called on human rights organisations to investigate.