The US Eastern District Court of Virginia issued Friday a default judgement against Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar after he refused to appear before the court to answer questions of the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Judge Leonie Brinkema issued the judgement in absentia, finding Haftar liable for war crimes he committed during his war in eastern Libya.

The Head of the Libyan American Alliance, Essam Omeish, said Brinkema’s judgement is final, which will allow the families of the victims to seek compensation.

“Haftar’s lawyers have failed to clear him of the accusations, and therefore the judgement came to clarify beyond any doubt that Khalifa Haftar is directly responsible for the crimes of murder and torture against the Libyans.” Omeish said.

Friday’s judgment against Haftar is a civil one but it could soon go to a criminal one, according to Mark Zaid, a lawyer representing one group of the plaintiffs.

Libyan families had filed lawsuits against Haftar in US courts in 2019 and 2020, accusing him of torturing and killing their relatives.