By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 19 July 2017:
The UN wants Mahmoud Al-Warfali, a Saiqa Special Forces commander,
suspended from duty while the Libyan National Army (LNA) investigates videos of murders of terrorist suspects in which he appears to be the executioner.
In response to an international outcry when the first of the videos emerged, in which it appeared that Warfali executed three kneeling militant suspects in the Benghazi district of Salmania, the LNA said that it was launching an enquiry. LNA spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mismari, said that his force would not tolerate any extra-judicial killings and vowed that all perpetrators would be brought to justice.
There then followed Warfali’s very public resignation from his Saiqa command. This however was rejected by Saiqa Special Forces commander Wanis Boukhamada.
Warfali has thus stayed in post and has appeared in three subsequent videos in which he is either seen himself to summarily execute terrorist suspects or gives the order for others to murder bound victims. In two cases, the murders are preceded by a peroration from Warfali in which he claims scriptural justification for the killing of these individuals.
UN human rights spokesman Liz Throssell said yesterday: “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.”
Throssell said that in March, when the first video emerged, the LNA had vowed it would mount an investigation into any alleged war crimes. She noted that it had not since shared any information.
“We urge the LNA to ensure there is a full, impartial investigation into these allegations,” she said. She also called for Warfali to be suspended until the enquiry was complete.
International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has told the UN Security Council that she was upping her efforts to investigate war crimes in Libya but claimed she lacked the necessary resources. Under the Rome treaty which established it, the ICC only has the power to prosecute an individual if the state in which the alleged crime has been committed is not able or willing to take legal action itself.
Thus far, Bensouda has said notihng about the allegations against Warfali. Human rights organisations have criticised her for her inactivity in the face of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.