Tripoli government blames silence of international community for alleged war crimes committed in Tarhuna
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 15 June 2020:
In a letter addressed to the UN Security Council, the Foreign Minister of the internationally recognized Libyan government in Tripoli, Mohamed Siala, said that the Security Council’s ‘‘silence and disregard for previous calls his government to take a firm stand against the aggression against Tripoli led to the crimes we see today and the discovery of mass graves in Tarhuna’’.
Siala was referring to the reported discovery of multiple mass graves in the city of Tarhuna which had been under the indirect/direct control of the Libyan National Army commanded by Khalifa Hafter until 5 June.
Tarhuna was under the control of the iron grip of the Kani brothers – the Kaniat – a family militia/brigade that suppressed all other militias in the city with brut force. There had been unconfirmed reports of whole families being assassinated for opposing the Kaniat.
The Kaniat switched sides over the years from being aligned with the Tripoli internationally recognized government to supporting Hafter. They had launched their own separate unsuccessful military attacks on Tripoli prior to joining Hafter’s 14-month long April 2019 equally unsuccessful attack in Tripoli.
Furthermore, in his letter, Siala called on the Security Council to ‘‘take a firm stand this time against the crimes committed in Tarhuna by Haftar’s militias that amount to crimes against humanity’’.
He added that ‘‘the number of graves After the crimes committed by Haftar’s militias in Tarhuna, the number of graves has so far reached eleven graves”, claiming that ”some of whose occupants have been buried alive, including children and women, in a horrific scene that is a front to humanity’’.
Siala called on the Security Council ‘‘to assume its full responsibilities in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and to refer the matter of these graves to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring criminals to justice and to ensure that they do not go unpunished.’’
He also called on the International Criminal Court ‘‘to take the necessary and urgent measures to investigate the crimes of Haftar and his militias in Tarhuna and to make high efforts to punish and hold perpetrators and their leaders accountable before the international judiciary and to ensure that they do not go unpunished.’’