Given the extent of the crimes committed by his forces and their documentation in several international reports, and the fact that the conditions for filing cases against him in Libyan and international courts have been met, it is likely that he would not accept an offer that will not protect him from prosecution for the remainder of his life. There is a precedent allowing for those who commit war crimes and human rights violations to be prosecuted, as former Chilean tyrant Pinochet remained immune from the judiciary even after he left power, but as soon as he travelled outside Chile, the international judiciary began to prosecute him for crimes and violations during his rule.
He was held under house arrest for a year and a half in London and his illness did not prevent him from being prosecuted. His inability to appear in court because of his severe illness prompted the Spanish judiciary to stop prosecuting him, and Britain allowed him to return to Chile to live out the rest of his days in isolation in a remote village.
It is known that Pinochet staged a coup against the elected Chilean President Salvador Allende in the 1970s with the support of the American intelligence. He was one of its prominent agents in Latin America to confront the communist tide, and then the US abandoned him, as it usually does when its agents are no longer of use.
It seems that Haftar’s use for American interests is coming to an end, and the passing of the Libya Stabilisation Act, the cancellation of his public relations contacts in the US to promote him in order to win the upcoming presidential elections, and increased talk of a safe exit are strong indicators of the post-Haftar phase approaching. This phase may be delayed if he chooses escalation and a failure to surrender to his inevitable fate. Does he still have any cards to play?
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 18 October 2021