Another summary execution has been reported in eastern Libya. LFJL strongly condemns these acts that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity and calls on the ICC to investigate immediately.
The bodies of 36 men were found in Abyar, 50 kilometres east of Benghazi. The men were reportedly found handcuffed and their bodies had signs of severe torture and injuries including gunshots to the head.
LFJL previously condemned a series of similar summary executions in eastern Libya. These summary executions constitute a war crime and a crime against humanity given that they have been committed in a widespread and systematic nature. This is also a crime under Libya’s domestic law. Law 10 of 2013 relating to Criminalisation of Torture, Forced Disappearance and Discrimination prohibits anyone from inflicting, or ordering another person to inflict, physical or mental pain on a detainee under his control.
LFJL notes the statement by the Ministry of Justice of the Government of National Accord on 28 October 2017 condemning the incident, as well as its call for the Libyan Public Prosecutor’s Office (the Public Prosecutor) to initiate an investigation into the incident. The Public Prosecutor has failed to take any measures to investigate past crimes. This has perpetuated the culture of impunity and the institutionalisation for human rights violations by the Libyan state.
To facilitate accountability for these crimes, LFJL recalls the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) mandate to pursue perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya. Given the weak, if not, non-existent domestic accountability measures, the Libyan state has proved that it is unable genuinely to carry out investigations or prosecutions into serious crimes. The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Al-Werfalli for his alleged responsibility of the execution of 33 people. The Office of the Prosecutor (the OTP) therefore should also consider and expedite investigations into similar crimes committed in Abyar which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
LFJL also encourages the OTP to issue additional arrest warrants for those suspected of being involved in crimes under the ICC’s mandate. The Libyan state must support any investigation by the ICC and facilitate the arrest of suspects.
LFJL Director, Elham Saudi stated: “what occurred in Abyar is another example of the impunity enjoyed by armed groups in Libya. Despite repeated promises to investigate serious violations, the Libyan state has yet to hold a single individual accountable for murdering, torturing, and abusing civilians and those who have been captured or injured following the 2011 uprising. Given the total lack of deterrence mechanisms on the ground, there is an urgent need for the ICC proactively to pursue accountability in Libya and deter the commission of further crimes”.
LFJL calls on the OTP to continue to investigate the situation in Libya and consider issuing additional arrest warrants for those suspected of committing or ordering the commission of serious human rights violations, including to the highest levels of responsibility.