ICC prosecutor urges Khalifa Haftar to hand over Mahmoud Werfalli

International Criminal Court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, delivered an appeal before the UN Security Council in regards to senior Libyan military commander Mahmoud Werfalli. Bensouda urged Operation Dignity Commander, Khalifa Haftar, to hand over Werfalli for prosecution for war crimes. Bensouda asked that Haftar “demonstrate, by concrete actions, respect for international justice by ensuring Mr Al-Werfalli’s immediate transfer to the Libyan authorities so that he may be surrendered to the court without delay.”

Werfalli is a prominent military personnel in Libya and the commander for Al-Saiqa brigade in Benghazi. He is accused of having ordered and carried out multiple executions, some of which were filmed and posted on social media outlets.

ICC judges have already issued an arrest warrant for Werfalli earlier in August, however, he is yet to be handed over due to non-cooperation. It is notable that the UN Security Council membership includes Russia and Egypt- both of which have strong ties to Haftar.  

Without Libyan cooperation it appears that the ICC is at a standstill. Bensouda warned that she was ready to request new arrest warrants if the atrocities continue. Yet, new indictments might further inflame pre-existing political tensions. However, as Bensouda states, inaction can be translated as perpetrators being “beyond the reach of the law”.

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