By Mel Frykberg
An arrest warrant for Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).
The warrant has been issued by a Virginia court in America on the basis that the general, who has the dual US and Libyan nationality, bears responsibility for the indiscriminate shelling of civilians in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
The lawsuit against Haftar and his LNA forces, which invaded Tripoli in early April in an attempt to overthrow the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), was filed by four families related to those killed, estimated to be over 1 000 people, last July.
The Virginia court said that if Haftar didn’t answer to his arrest warrant, he would be sentenced in absentia, the Libya Observer reported.
US Congressmen have also called earlier for prosecuting Haftar for war crimes he committed in Libya since 2014, citing that he is a US citizen and should be tried in the US.
The ongoing fighting between LNA forces and GNA government troops has reached a stalemate with neither side gaining ground as civilians continue to pay the price and infrastructure is destroyed.
Various regional and international countries have also been involved in supporting different sides of the conflict with military, economic and other aid.
African News Agency (ANA)
‘Fully-fledged war crimes’: Fresh Haftar airstrikes batter Libya
War planes from Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar forces led an intensified campaign of airstrikes on Tuesday morning, wounding another 13 civilians in the port city of Misrata, hours after a biscuit factory was bombed.
Haftar’s forces, based in east Libya and waging a campaign to take the capital Tripoli, confirmed on Tuesday they had struck a munitions depot in Misrata.
The casualties bring the toll from the past 24 hours to seven killed and 58 injured – all of whom were civilians – in strikes from Haftar’s planes, after a heavy strike on a factory in Tripoli on Monday.
Most of those killed on Monday were foreign workers, including nationals from Bangladesh, Egypt and Niger.
They died when the factory in Wadi Rabi, a suburb at the centre of fighting for control of the capital, took a direct hit.
In the wake of the attack, the interior ministry of Libya’s UN-recognised government released a statement, confirming the deaths and adding that the strike constituted a “fully-fledged war crime”.
The ministry called on the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act swiftly to prosecute the perpetrators, including the Chinese aircraft manufacturer it accused of providing Haftar with planes.
Fierce fighting has gripped Tripoli since rogue general Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take the capital in April, but met fierce resistance from forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
In 2011, Libya’s long-standing dictator Gaddafi was overthrown by revolutionaries, leading to fighting between rival militias.