Dignity Operation forces, led by Khalifa Haftar, may have committed war crimes, including killing and beating civilians, and summarily executing and desecrating bodies of opposition fighters in the eastern city of Benghazi on and around March 18, 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday.
In its report, titled "Summary Executions, Attacks on Civilians, Desecration of Corpses," Human Rights Watch said that the forces of Khalifa Haftar's Dignity Operation intercepted civilians trying to flee a besieged neighborhood of Ganfouda, some accompanied by opposition fighters, and the whereabouts of some civilians are unknown.
"Khalifa Hiftar, the commander of the Dignity Operation forces in eastern Libya, should order a full and transparent investigation into recent alleged crimes by forces under his command, including attacks on civilians, alleged summary executions, and the mutilation and desecration of corpses, and hold those responsible to account." HRW added.
The HRW's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, Joe Stork, indicated in the report that the leadership of eastern forces in Benghazi needs to respond urgently to these deeply disturbing allegations by investigating the suspected perpetrators, including senior military commanders who may bear individual responsibility.
"Dignity Operation fighters intercepted about seven families after one of their cars broke down and attacked and killed some of them and arrested others," HRW quoted the relatives of Ganfouda families who fled the district as saying.
Human Rights Watch stressed its deep concern and condemnation of the issue as it said it had reviewed videos and photos shared by family members of victims, local journalists, and activists that purport to show bodies of Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council fighters in Benghazi that Dignity Operation fighters allegedly desecrated and mutilated during or after the March 18 evacuation of Ganfouda residents.
Meanwhile, many political and social entities in Libya and overseas had condemned the inhumane crimes committed by Haftar's forces in Benghazi during and after the evacuation of the civilian families from Ganfouda by the Benghazi Shura Council fighters, who lost over 20 persons in the operation.
On Tuesday, The Egyptian Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Hijazi, said that he and Khalifa Haftar had prolonged discussions over a couple of days aiming at convincing the latter to disavow and apologize for the crimes of exhuming the bodies from Ganfouda graves, and killing and torturing civilians and women by his militias in Benghazi.