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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Tuesday 26 March 2019

ICC seeks Libyan for 33 alleged executions

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor has urged Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar to hand over a commander wanted for war crimes, including the cold-blooded execution of 33 people. A report on The Citizen site notes that Fatou Bensouda delivered her appeal before the UN Security Council, whose members Russia and Egypt have close ties to Haftar, who is the head of the Libyan National Army, which controls the country’s eastern region. ICC judges in August issued an arrest warrant for Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, a commander of the Al-Saiqa brigade, based in Libya’s second city of Benghazi. He is accused of having ordered or personally carried out seven executions between March and July this year and in June 2016 that were filmed and posted to social media sites. These ‘resulted in the murder of 33 people in cold blood’, Bensouda told the council. The report notes that Bensouda urged the council to support her efforts to bring the perpetrators of war crimes in Libya to justice, warning that inaction would send a signal to those responsible that ‘they are beyond the reach of the law’.

ICC judges have also authorised the prosecutor of the court to investigate crimes allegedly committed in Burundi since the outbreak of the political crisis in 2015. In a statement issued last week, the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber III granted Bensouda permission to extend her investigation to crimes which were committed before 26 April 2015 and continued after 26 October. A report on the IoL site notes that Burundi announced its withdrawal from the ICC a year ago, and it became official on 27 October. Burundian authorities have declared that the ICC was no longer allowed to open investigations against Burundi. However, the report notes that the judges explained that the decision was first issued 'under seal' on 25 October, two days before Burundi's withdrawal was effective.