Haftar militia commander “Werfalli” assassinated in East Libya

A war criminal commander of Haftar militia, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, was assassinated by gunmen on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, local media reported, according to Anadolu Agency.

A spokesman for the special forces of Haftar militia in a tweet confirmed the death of Mahmoud Al-Werfalli​​​​​​​, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Al-Warfali is alleged to have directly committed and to have ordered the commission of murders as war crimes in Benghazi or surrounding areas, according to the ICC.

He is also accused of carrying out mass executions against unarmed detainees in Benghazi.

In December 2019, the US Treasury included Al-Werfali on its sanctions list, accusing him of committing serious human rights violations.

Who was al-Werfalli?

Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, 43, served as a senior commander in the Al-Saiqa Brigade, an elite unit of soldiers that defected from the Libyan Army during the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Al-Werfalli was a member of militias loyal to General Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.

In a widely circulated video earlier this month, Werfalli was seen raiding a car showroom in Benghazi alongside his uniformed men, smashing up furniture and computers as they brandished weapons.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for his death, but the assassination underscores the fragility of the war-torn country.

The ICC first issued a war crimes arrest warrant against Werfalli in August 2017 after video footage appeared to show him carrying out and ordering seven separate rounds of summary executions of 33 people in 2016 and 2017.

The video footage referred by the ICC judges showed Werfalli personally shooting hooded and bound prisoners or ordering a firing squad to open fire on them.

The Hague-based court issued another arrest warrant against him for his “alleged responsibility for murder as a war crime.” 

ICC had issued arrest warrant for al-Werfalli

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on 15 August 2017 issued a war crimes arrest warrant against a senior Libyan military commander after multiple video appeared to show him participating and ordering summary executions.

The ICC “issued a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, allegedly responsible for murder as a war crime in the context of the non-international armed conflict in Libya,” the Hague-based court said in a statement.

The ICC had charged al-Werfalli with directly committing and ordering the commission of murder, as a war crime in the context of seven incidents, involving 33 persons, which took place from on or before 3 June 2016 until on or about 17 July 2017 in Benghazi or surrounding areas, in Libya as well as Murder as a war crime in the context of an eighth incident which took place on 24 January 2018, when al-Werfalli shot dead 10 persons in front of the Bi’at al-Radwan Mosque in Benghazi, Libya.