February 18, 2018

Bensouda condemns violence in Benghazi

ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, condemns recent violence in Benghazi, Libya.

I am deeply concerned by reports that unidentified persons detonated two car bombs outside theBaya’at al-Radwan mosque in the Al-Salmani district of Benghazi, Libya on the evening of 23 January 2018, killing at least 34 people, including children, and wounding over 90 others.

I am equally appalled by photographs and video made public on 24 January 2018, that purportedly show Major Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli executing 10 persons in front of the Baya’at al-Radwan mosque, in what appears to constitute retaliation for the cowardly bombings of 23 January 2018.

These bombings and executions demand both condemnation and a meaningful response. My 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.

Since 15 August 2017, Mr al-Werfalli 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.

I once again repeat my call to Libya to take all necessary steps possible to immediately arrest and surrender Mr al-Werfalli to the ICC. 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.

I note that on 24 January 2018, 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.  Only when perpetrators realise there will be serious consequences for their crimes can we hope to deter future crimes.

I am dismayed 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. I once again call on General Khalifa Haftar, as commander of the LNA and superior of Mr al-Werfalli, to heed my previous call to the LNA to work with the Libyan authorities to enable the suspect’s immediate arrest and surrender to the ICC.

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

Anyone with information relating to the bombings or the executions mentioned above, please contact the Office of the Prosecutor at the following email address: LBY@icc-cpi.int.

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