March
24

The #FreeGanfouda team has been investigating the events since March 18, 2017, when the LNA executed intensified attacks on Ganfouda. Our team has been cross referencing information from civilians who escaped and relatives of those who have been killed.

#FreeGanfouda confirms that it has collected evidence of the following:

  • War crimes and human rights violations have been committed under the direction of Khalifa Haftar and his senior officers since the Ganfouda conflict began. The atrocities committed since March 18, 2017 are a proliferation of the military strategy instructed by Khalifa Haftar in October 2015 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlBWhuMsdW4) to his senior officers.
  • A number of civilians were killed in the ’12 Building’ district. A number of others were captured while fleeing to safety. They were arrested by the LNA. Some of these civilians were murdered and others have disappeared.

The LNA should restrain its officers and immediately reunite civilians with their loved ones. Those civilians injured should be immediately admitted to hospitals for medical care.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both issued detailed research and reports on the atrocities that have taken placed in Ganfouda.

Amnesty International – Evidence points to war crimes by Libyan National Army forces

HRW – Libya: War Crimes as Benghazi Residents Flee (Summary Executions, Attacks on Civilians, Desecration of Corpses)

The former U.S. Special Envoy for Libya, Jonathan Winer, called for investigations of Haftar-led direction in Ganfouda.

Martin Kobler has raised concerns about human rights violations ‘across Libya’ while avoiding any mention of the LNA or Haftar’s violations in Ganfouda. In fact, he has unfortunately chosen to welcome the LNA’s announcement that it would conduct investigations and issued clarification to suggestions that he has recognised any war crimes committed by LNA or Haftar. Kobler’s lack of direct and explicit response to these atrocities demonstrates a persistent accommodation of Khalifa Haftar irrespective of the costs to Libyans.

Despite the UN’s accommodation of Haftar despite his past and current war crimes, Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of HRW Middle East and North Africa Division, has been accurate to point out that Haftar has a “sordid past, elected by no one, yet under his command war crimes have been committed in Benghazi, Libya.”

#FreeGanfouda is very concerned with UNSMIL and HRW’s call for the LNA to investigate the war crimes committed. The LNA’s military methods are an indication that it does not have the ability to independently and fairly investigate war crimes. Evidence exists that LNA senior officers, including Khalifa Haftar, have instructed their fighters to kill all opposition and civilians. Welcoming an investigation led by Haftar implies that he has impunity from the war crimes committed.

The United Nations and the ICC should independently investigate the war crimes that have been committed in Ganfouda and hold those responsible accountable.

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