Libyan leading civil and human rights lawyers have concluded that Libya cannot pursue its own war criminals and human rights violators. 

Lawyers for Justice in Libya  (LFJL) says that it is therefore looking to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to intercede.

LFJL Director, Elham Saudi explained that the massacre in Al-Abyar was “another example of the impunity enjoyed by armed groups in Libya.

Despite repeated promises to investigate serious violations, the Libyan state has yet to hold a single individual accountable for murdering, torturing and abusing civilians and those who have been captured or injured following the 2011 uprising”

It was now therefore up to others to act. “Given the total lack of deterrence mechanisms on the ground,” she said, “there is an urgent need for the ICC proactively to pursue accountability in Libya and deter the commission of further crimes”.

The LFJL noted that the ICC had issued a warrant for the arrest of Saiqa Special Forces major Mahmoud Warfali in connection with the execution of 33 people.  But it added that the ICC prosecutor  “should also consider and expedite investigations into similar crimes committed in Al-Abyar which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

The LFJL echoed UNSMIL chief Ghassan Salamé’s despair following the latest killings that no one has been held accountable for any of the massacres and summary executions carried out in recent years.

LFJL said today: “These summary executions constitute a war crime and a crime against humanity given that they have been committed in a widespread and systematic nature”.

It noted that the Presidency Council’s Justice Ministry had condemned the crime at Al-Abyar in which 36 handcuffed men were shot, mostly through the head and their bodies dumped beside a road outside the town.  It has called for the public prosecutor to investigate.

However, LFJL also pointed out that the public prosecutor has failed to take any steps to investigate any such crimes in the past.  “This has perpetuated the culture of impunity and the institutionalisation for human rights violations by the Libyan state” it said.


LFJL is an independent non-governmental organisation and charity, incorporated for the public benefit in order to defend and promote human rights in Libya.Through holistic programmes, which focus on transitional justice, legal reform, human rights education, strategic litigation and advocacy. LFJL seeks to become a catalyst, during the transitional period and beyond, for the establishment of a state based on the respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.


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