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ICC says Libya militia suspect dead, drops case

By AFP - Jun 15,2022 - Last updated at Jun 15,2022

THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court on Wednesday confirmed the death of wanted war crimes suspect and Libyan militia leader Mahmoud Al Werfalli, saying it was dropping the case against him.

The decision by the Hague-based tribunal comes more than a year after reports that Werfalli, a member of forces loyal to eastern military Khalifa Haftar, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen. 

“The chamber considered the death of Mr Al Werfalli to be established and decided that the proceedings against him must accordingly be terminated,” the ICC said in a statement.

This was after “considering the information and material provided by the prosecution, in particular witness statements, photographs, and social media material”, the court said.

The ICC issued a first warrant for Werfalli’s arrest in August 2017, accusing him of having ordered or personally carried out seven separate rounds of executions of 33 people in 2016 and 2017.

ICC judges referred to video footage allegedly showing Werfalli personally shooting hooded and bound prisoners, or ordering a firing squad to open fire on them.

In July 2018, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for Werfalli for his “alleged responsibility for murder as a war crime”.

The court said he “allegedly shot dead 10 persons in front of the Bi’at Al Radwan Mosque” in Benghazi on January 24 that year.

Born in 1978, Werfalli was a commander of the Al Saiqa Brigade, an elite unit that defected from Libya’s military during the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

Libya has been mired in chaos and repeated rounds of conflict in the decade since.

Elections were scheduled for December last year but the vote has been indefinitely postponed. 

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