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Sat Sep 5, 2020, 07:56 AM

Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar faces legal action in US for alleged war crimes

Source: The Guardian

Libyan warlord faces legal action in US for alleged war crimes

Khalifa Haftar challenged in Virginia by relatives of military leaderís alleged victims

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Fri 4 Sep 2020 12.57 BST

A $50m damages claim lodged in a court in Virginia alleges that the Libyan warlord General Khalifa Haftar, who holds US citizenship, is guilty of war crimes including starvation sieges that forced families to eat grass and tree bark to survive.

The claim against Haftar by two relatives of his alleged victims is an attempt to make him answerable somewhere for the crimes he is accused of perpetrating as head of the Libyan National Army, the major military force in the east of the country, which since 2014 has been in conflict with the Tripoli-based government in the west.

The claim, focusing on the siege of Benghazi in 2016-17, is being supported by the high-profile lawyers Mark Zaid, who represented the US administration whistleblower who sparked the Trump impeachment, and Matthew Jury, a British solicitor who has represented families seeking compensation from the era of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

With no functioning independent courts in Libya, and the international criminal court unwilling to file charges against Haftar, Jury said it was legitimate for victims of Haftarís cruelty to file claims in Virginia, where Haftar and two of his sons, Saddam and Khalid, own property.

Haftar lived in Virginia after he fell out with Gaddafi in 1987. His family is said to own 17 properties in Virginia, including an 85-acre estate.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/04/khalifa-haftar-libya-warlord-faces-legal-action-us-alleged-war-crimes

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