ICC prosecutor renews call to arrest Libyan commander

Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli
Updated 14 September 2017
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ICC prosecutor renews call to arrest Libyan commander

THE HAGUE: The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Wednesday renewed her call for the immediate arrest of a senior Libyan commander wanted for war crimes, amid allegations he has killed more people.
Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli “stands accused of serious crimes. I therefore call again on Libya to take all possible steps to immediately arrest and surrender him to the ICC,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement.
Al-Werfalli, born in 1978, is a senior commander in the Al-Saiqa brigade, an elite unit, which defected from the Libyan National Army (LNA) after the uprising against longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
The brigade has been battling alongside forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, which was recently liberated after a three-year campaign.
In August, ICC judges issued a warrant for his arrest, alleging he was behind a series of murders and bloody executions of 33 people in the city.
He is accused of being involved in at least seven incidents in 2016 and 2017, during which he allegedly personally shot or ordered the execution of people who were either civilians or injured fighters.
At the time, LNA said Al-Werfalli had been arrested and was under investigation by military authorities. But Bensouda said she had received “reports alleging conversely that the suspect is at large and may have been involved in additional killings since the ICC warrant of arrest was issued.”
Her office was investigating, but Bensouda added she was “gravely concerned about these new allegations, and generally about further violent loss of life in Libya.”
The ICC remains in a legal tug-of-war with Libyan authorities to transfer Qaddafi’s son Seif Al-Islam to The Hague, with the two sides disputing who has the right to judge him.
“Bringing safety, security and stability to Libya is a must,” Bensouda said, adding that “so is fighting impunity in Libya” for the grave crimes committed in the country.
The appeal underscores the problems faced by the ICC — which has no police force of its own to arrest suspects — in getting custody of suspects in conflict-torn Libya.
The court has filed charges against five Libyans, including former dictator Qaddafi, but none of them has been arrested and sent to The Hague to face justice. Qaddafi was captured and killed by rebels in 2011. His son Seif Al-Islam is wanted by the court.
Libya sank into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled Qaddafi.


Algeria deports nearly 400 migrants back to Niger

Updated 15 July 2018
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Algeria deports nearly 400 migrants back to Niger

  • The IOM and EU are intensifying efforts to return African migrants home
  • 391 migrants from 16 west and central African countries had arrived in Assamaka

NIAMEY: Algeria has deported nearly 400 African migrants trying to reach Europe, sending them back over the Sahara desert into neighboring Niger, the UN migration agency (IOM) and Niger said on Sunday.
The IOM and European Union are intensifying efforts to return African migrants home, after thousands have died making the dangerous crossing to Europe across the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats. Many get stuck before ever reaching Africa’s northern coast, either in Libya, where they suffer slavery and abuse at the hands of militias, or Algeria.
IOM operations officer Livia Manente told Reuters in an email that the group of 391 migrants from 16 west and central African countries had arrived in the Nigerien town of Assamaka on Friday on about 20-30 vehicles, after being stopped while heading to work in various Algerian cities.
“They claim their phones were confiscated and that conditions were poor — not much food and water, crowded rooms),” she said. “They were transported in trucks after the locality of In Guezzam and then obliged to walk across the border ... including families with pregnant women and children.”
Aboubacar Ajouel, the mayor of Agadez, the last destination for the migrants, confirmed that they had arrived.
Algeria declined to confirm this particular deportation, but said that 20,000 migrants had been prevented from reaching Europe by Algerian authorities since January, thanks to security measures put in place at its borders with Mali and Niger.
“We have no choice but to prevent them,” Hassen Kacimi, director of Algeria’s interior ministry in charge of migration, told Reuters by telephone.