Cairo- Libya officials should investigate and dismiss forces involved in atrocities, Human Rights Watch said this week, after a video appeared on social media purportedly showing a military unit executing 20 suspected
The video appears to show a military unit linked to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar executing 20 hooded men they accuse of being ISIS militants found guilty of bombings and killings.
The video is the latest that appears to show Haftar’s Libyan National Army troops engaged in summary executions of suspected militants. An LNA spokesman in Benghazi declined to comment on the video but it has previously denied its forces are involved.
“This latest mass execution, if confirmed, would be one more in a string of atrocities committed by members of the Libyan National Army forces and is yet another manifestation of how its members are taking the law into their own hands,” Eric Goldstein, Middle East and North Africa deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said.
Goldstein said the LNA and the Libyan government needed to remove from duty those accused of violations and hold them accountable if found guilty after a transparent investigation.
“A failure to do so risks implicating senior military commanders in these apparent war crimes,” he said.
The video purports to show an LNA commander reading out a statement before rows of men kneeling in orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their heads and their hands bound. LNA forces move row by row to fire into the back of their heads and bodies.
“Executed by firing squad after they were found guilty,” a caption on the video reads.
The video did not explain how the men had been found guilty.
An LNA special forces commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, appears in the video. The United Nations has previously called for the LNA to dismiss him after a video in March allegedly showed al-Werfalli shooting dead three men who were kneeling and facing a wall with their hands tied behind their backs.
Earlier this month, the UN human rights body called on the LNA to investigate summary executions of prisoners and torture of those still in captivity. In March, the LNA said it would investigate potential war crimes but has not released any details of the probe.
The UN human rights office had no immediate comment about the latest video.