ICC Prosecutor Bensouda demands Libya Hand over Major Al-Werfalli to the ICC

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda has appealed to Libya to take all necessary steps possible to arrest and surrender Major Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli to the ICC.

The appalling cycle of violence and impunity in Libya, he said, cannot be allowed to continue for the sake of the Libyan people and the security and stability of the country and the region.

Mr. Bensouda expressed deep concerns of reports that unidentified persons detonated two car bombs outside the Baya’at al-Radwan mosque in Al-Salmani district of Benghazi, Libya on the evening of January 23, killing at least 34 people, including children and wounding over 90 others.

The ICC prosecutor was equally horrified by photographs and video showing Major al-Werfalli purportedly executing 10 persons in front of the Baya’at al-Radwan mosque, in what appears to constitute retaliation for the cowardly car bombings.

According to him, these bombings and executions demand both condemnation and a meaningful response and stressed that his office remains committed to doing its part, within its means, by investigating and prosecuting grave crimes in Libya falling under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”), in particular, the crimes of commanders and superiors, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators or their affiliation.

Major al-Werfalli, since 15th August 2017, has been the subject of a warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC for his alleged direct participation in seven incidents in 2016 and 2017, in which 33 individuals were executed.

Mr. Bensouda called on Libya to take all necessary steps to immediately arrest and surrender Mr. Al-Werfalli.

I also repeat my call on all States, including members of the United Nations Security Council, to support Libya in facilitating Mr al-Werfalli’s arrest and surrender to the Court.”

The United Nations Mission in Libya expressed alarm at the “brutal and outrageous summary executions in Benghazi” and demanded the immediate handover of Mr al-Werfalli to the ICC.  These calls must be heeded with concrete follow-up action,” he said.

He pointed out that it is only when perpetrators realise there will be serious consequences for their crimes would they be deterred in future crimes.

Mr. Bensouda expressed dismay that Mr. Al-Werfalli appears to remain in a position of command and allegedly continues to commit crimes with impunity, despite an official statement from the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in August 2017 that Mr al-Werfalli had been arrested and was under investigation by a military prosecutor.

He urged General Khalifa Haftar, as commander of the LNA and superior of Mr al-Werfalli, to heed call from the ICC to the LNA to work with the Libyan authorities to enable the suspect’s immediate arrest and surrender to the ICC.

He appealed to people with information relating to the bombings or the executions to contact the Office of the Prosecutor at the following email address: LBY@icc-cpi.int.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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