Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says his team possesses audio and video records of the atrocities and mass graves in Tarhuna where authorities unearthed 250 bodies.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has submitted new applications for arrest warrants stemming from his investigations of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya.
Karim Asad Ahmad Khan spoke to the UN Security Council on Wednesday in the first briefing by an ICC prosecutor from Libyan soil.
He said the applications were submitted confidentially to the court’s independent judges, who will determine whether to issue arrest warrants.
Therefore, he said, he couldn’t provide further details.
But, Khan added, "there will be further applications that we will make because the victims want to see action, and the evidence is available, and it’s our challenge to make sure we have the resources (to) prioritise the Libya situation to make sure we can vindicate the promise of the Security Council in Resolution 1970."
In that resolution, adopted in February 2011, the Security Council unanimously referred Libya to The Hague, Netherlands-based ICC to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The council's referral followed Muammar Gaddafi’s crackdown on protesters that was then taking place. The uprising led to Gaddafi's arrest and death in October 2011.
Unearthing mass graves
The prosecutor said he visited the western town of Tarhuna, about 80 kilometres from Tripoli, where mass graves were discovered in June 2020.
During a round table meeting, he said, one man told him he had lost 24 family members and another said he had lost 15 relatives.
Khan said 250 bodies have so far been recovered in Tarhuna but far fewer have been identified. The ICC possesses audio and video records of the atrocities and mass graves in Tarhuna.
He said armed groups affiliated with warlord Khalifa Haftar were involved in crimes such as extrajudicial killings, kidnapping and hostage-taking in various Libyan cities.
The city of Tarhuna was liberated on June 5, 2020 from militias loyal to Haftar. Since then, bodies have been recovered from mass graves discovered almost every day.
The prosecutor also said he went to Benghazi and met Tuesday with the military prosecutor and with Haftar.
"I made it clear that we had received evidence and information regarding allegations of crimes committed by the LNA," he said, using the initials of the so-called Libya National Army that Haftar leads.
“I said that those would be and are being investigated,” Khan said.