Libya: NPWJ welcomes ICC warrant for LNA Special Forces Commander Al-Werfalli

Brussels-Rome, 15 August 2017

Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, Commander of Al-Saqia Bridage, a unit of the Libyan National Army (LNA), who is allegedly responsible for war crimes committed in the context of the current armed conflict in Libya.
The LNA — commanded by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar — controls the eastern part of the country and has been fighting against militias aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord and other groups for control of central and southern Libya.
Mr Al-Werfalli is alleged to have committed and ordered the war crime of murder in the context of seven incidents involving 33 persons that took place between June 2016 and July 2017 in Benghazi or surrounding areas, in Libya.

Statement by Alison Smith, Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) welcomes today’s decision by the ICC as a renewed prospect towards addressing the prevalent culture of impunity in Libya and bringing the issues of justice and accountability to the centre of negotiations to end the ongoing conflict and political crisis.
“This warrant sends a clear message that those who perpetrate or order horrendous crimes and serious human rights abuses are not above the law and will not remain unpunished. We call on the Libyan authorities to comply with this arrest warrant and take immediate steps to facilitate the surrender of Mr al-Werfalli to the ICC. We strongly urge the ICC to expand its investigations in Libya and include other crimes being committed every day throughout the country. We also encourage the ICC to intensify its outreach for Libya, to ensure the population can follow and be engaged with these latest developments before the ICC.
“Since May 2014, Libya has been engulfed in armed conflict, insecurity and political chaos, which resulted in the collapse of the central authority and the emergence of three competing governments that have been fighting for control over the country. The inability of key institutions, most notably law enforcement and the judiciary, to operate in most parts of the country has emboldened the parties to this conflict to act with complete disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law. Perpetrators of grave violations, such as extrajudicial killings and torture, document their crimes with videos and photos, broadcasting them without fearing accountability. It is civilians who mostly bear the brunt of the ongoing crimes and violence.
“Since the beginning of the revolution some six years ago, No Peace Without Justice has consistently advocated for accountability in Libya as a means to overcome the legacy of impunity and abuses that typified Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. We look to the Libyan authorities vying for legitimacy in Libya to ensure that forces and armed formations aligned with them abide by international human rights and humanitarian law and that those responsible for crimes and human rights abuses are held to account, also as a real signal of a break with the past. The international community must encourage and support this path if there is to be any hope to restore the rule of law and ensure lasting peace and stability in Libya.”

For further information, please contact Alison Smith on, or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on or +32-2-548-3915.