Delivery by e-mail
General Khalifa Hiftar
Commander of the Libyan National Army
Dear General Hiftar:
Human Rights Watch has been tracking violations against civilians in Benghazi since the 2011 uprising.
Our researchers were on the ground to document the situation from the first days of the revolution. We have continued to document violations in Benghazi by all sides since the beginning in May 2014.
Human Rights Watch is writing to you as commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to invite your comment on a series of videos and photographs that have appeared on social media since January 2017 that appear to show Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli, commander of a Special Forces unit under the LNA-linked Army Special Forces, presiding over the execution, or himself carrying out the execution, of captured prisoners.
These videos include the following:
- A video that appears to be showing Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli executing three men, believed to have taken place between January and February of this year:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VGbUFSptJk;
- A video that emerged in March of Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli executing a man, and posing with the corpse: https://www.facebook.com/TajouraTatahdat/videos/vb.616282578414521/1390901340952637/?type=2&theater;
- A video from May that shows Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli executing a man believed to be from Algeria :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koYRPQ_aqw8;
- Another video from May that shows Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli signaling two of his men to execute two men kneeling on the ground: https://twitter.com/1libyan/status/866612595255595008;
- A video of Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli ordering two of his men to execute two men with their hands tied behind their backs from June of this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUIdE_L9KTY;
- A video that shows Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli ordering LNA soldiers to execute four prisoners in June of this year: https://www.facebook.com/libyaclock24/videos/vb.913802645432681/1187670881379188/?type=2&&theater;
- Finally, a video that was posted on Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli’s Facebook page in July of this year that shows him and his men executing 20 prisoners: https://www.facebook.com/alwrfli.ly/videos/478017139200045/.
The extrajudicial execution of captured persons, whether combatants or criminal suspects, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.
We would be grateful to know if you can confirm Major Warfalli as the person presiding over, or carrying out executions in each of these videos and if so, whether the LNA sanctions these acts. If not, we wish to know if the LNA is taking to hold accountable Major Warfalli and any other person implicated in these killings.
Should you have any questions regarding this matter or to provide responses to our queries, please do not hesitate to contact my colleague, Sarkis Balkhian.
Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa, Human Rights Watch
Major Mahmoud Al-Warfalli, “Thunderbolt” Special Forces Brigade, The Libyan National Army
Brigadier General Wanis Bukhamada, “Thunderbolt” Special Forces Brigade, The Libyan National Army