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article imageOp-Ed: 14 bodies found in Benghazi all shot in the head

By Ken Hanly     Jul 23, 2016 in Crime
Benghazi - A doctor in the Benghazi Medical Centre reported that the hospital had received the bodies of 14 people who had been killed execution-style. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) called the killings a war crime.
The unidentified bodies were found Thursday and brought to the hospital by the Red Crescent. An anonymous doctor said that the bodies all bore shots to the head. Kobler in a tweet said he was "utterly shocked and dismayed by the summary execution of a number of people in Benghazi." He called for an investigation of the murders and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
As France24 reports: Benghazi has seen bloody battles for more than two years between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised parliament and armed groups including the jihadist Islamic State group. Forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar have regained several districts of Benghazi in recent months but have yet to retake the whole city. No details at all on Haftar's Operation Dignity which started in May of 2014 with attacks against two Islamist bases in Benghazi but was followed up by his allies burning the parliament in Tripoli.
While the House of Representatives (HoR) and the government of Abdullah al_Thinni were at one time internationally-recognized, at present, the Al-Thinni government and HoR are not internationally recognized. However by the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), the HoR is required to vote confidence in the GNA and amend the constitutional declaration. The UN and most nations recognize the UN-backed GNA as the sole legitimate Libyan government. Perhaps, since French special forces are obviously dealing with Haftar and the HoR, France24 considers the HoR "internationally recognized". The HoR mandate ran out last October and was illegally extended. Although the HoR was elected it was with a turnout of about 18 percent or less. The election was ruled unconstitutional by the Libyan Constitutional Court back in November 2014, but no one but the Salvation Government, the Tripoli-based rival to the HoR, paid much attention. Since the GNA moved to Tripoli the Salvation Government associated with the former General National Congress(GNC) has ceased to exist, at least as having any power.
The 14 bodies were found in an area controlled by Haftar's forces, raising concerns that his forces have been responsible. While Kobler demands an investigation it is unlikely to happen. Back in early June, 12 prisoners who were ordered released from a jail in Tripoli were found murdered. Amnesty International and some others claim that the twelve were killed before they left the jail. There was to be an immediate investigation. The issue has just dropped off the media radar. The prisoners were former Gadaffi troops. No one has yet been charged.
Haftar's forces have been previously condemned by the UN for attacking civilian targets in the city of Derna. There were threats of prosecutions for war crimes. Nothing has happened. The city is now run by the Derna Shura Council or Jihadists whom Haftar considers as terrorists, even though they were instrumental in driving the Islamic State from Derna. Haftar's air force attacked them even when IS had left, consequently hitting a number of civilian targets.
The jihadist forces in Benghazi have also been accused of war crimes in attacking medical facilities and using civilians as shields. Both pro-Haftar and anti-Haftar forces appear to have committed war crimes but so far neither international authorities nor authorities from the GNA or rival HoR government have brought anyone to face justice for any war crimes.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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