Published: July 08, 2019
East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar has promoted an officer wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, according to local Libyan sources.
Army Major Mahmoud al-Werfalli was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, the sources said Monday on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.
Observers see the move as defiance by Haftar to the ICC, which issued an arrest warrant in 2017 for al-Werfalli amid allegations that he had committed war crimes in Libya.
In an earlier video that surfaced online, al-Werfalli can be seen executing 10 people in Benghazi after the eastern city was rocked by a deadly bombing.
Last year, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) demanded al-Werfalli’s immediate extradition.
In early April, Haftar, who commands forces loyal to a rival government based in eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to take the capital Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
His forces, however, have failed to achieve their primary objective, although they have captured several strategic towns and cities in the vicinity.
Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- and a host of heavily armed militia groups. source