By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 23 March 2017:
UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler has said he is pleased the Libyan National Army (LNA) is to investigate following the emergence of video evidence of war crimes after the fall of Ganfouda. However Amnesty International has warned that given Libya’s past failure to investigate and prosecute war crimes, “promises to investigate these latest crimes ring hollow and the prospects of justice for victims and their families are dim.”
“The deplorable conduct of members of the Libyan National Army in these videos, which show the fatal shooting of defenceless captives, violates international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s North Africa research director.
Amnesty said that it had been told by an LNA spokesman that the individuals responsible for the killings had been arrested and would be investigated.
The LNA has also put out a statement saying the unlawful killings had been isolated incidents carried out by individuals. It said military units in Benghazi had been ordered to ensure that those responsible for violations were handed over to the military police and brought to trial.
But Amnesty feared that, as in the past, investigations will not result in transparent prosecutions that have held members of the security forces or militias accountable, even in incidents where there had been clear evidence of criminal wrong doing.
It cited the case of 14 bodies found in July 2016 on a rubbish heap in Benghazi’s Leithi district. Amnesty said that these men had been “recaptured” by the LNA . Their arms had been bound before they were shot dead. “Neither the LNA nor the state’s law enforcement agencies have conducted effective investigations into these or other summary killings in the country.”
Morayef insisted: “A credible, independent and impartial investigation into these incidents is vital to send a clear message to those who commit or order horrendous crimes that they are not above the law and will not go unpunished.”