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Hafter accused of war crimes in Benghazi

The Geneva-based Libyan Human Rights Solidarity (LHRS) has warned that the targeting of families related to members of the different battalions that form the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council (BRSC) by forces loyal to Khalifa Hafter is a war crime and must be stopped by the United Nations before it grows into full-blown “genocide”.

In a statement issued Sunday, the group said that campaigns had been conducted by parties loyal to Hafter via social media calling for violent revenge against families based on class and ethnicity, which is considered to be a crime against humanity.

“We find the loaded, provocative rhetoric circulating on Facebook and on some Libyan satellite channels to be unacceptable. The incitements to violence are a serious threat to peace and stability, and we fear that, if left unchallenged, they could lead to ethnic cleansing,” said LHRS President Khalid Aqeeli.

It is not immediately clear however, which ethnic groups LHRS has in mind.  The BRSC, dominated by Ansar Al-Sharia, is not an ethnicly-based organisation. Its members come from all groups within Libya society, and from elsewhere as well.

According to researcher at LHRS Juma Lamama, the House of Representatives was not without blame in this situation.

“Not only are Hafter and the groups loyal to him responsible for these atrocities, but the parliament in Tobruk should be held accountable for having backed this ‘rebel’, Hafter,” Lamama said.

This is not the first time in recent months that the LHRS has criticised Hafter or the Libyan government. Ten days ago, the group accused Hafter of inciting murder in his nationally televised address, during which he called on Benghazi residents to provide the addresses of BRSC members and their families and to take up arms against the “terrorists” in one final push to re-take the city. In September, the group accused the government of having dropped the ball on investigating the numerous assassinations that have taken place in Benghazi since 2011 and threatened to appeal to the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Libya Herald
This article was originally published here.

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