Libyan families launch lawsuit against renegade general with American citizenship

Khalifa Hafter presents himself as Libya's saviour in the face of a growing jihadist threat, but his opponents accuse of him of seeking to establish a new military dictatorship. AFP/File/Abdullah DOMA

Khalifa Hafter presents himself as Libya's saviour in the face of a growing jihadist threat, but his opponents accuse of him of seeking to establish a new military dictatorship. AFP/File/Abdullah DOMA

The lawsuits call for financial compensations of about $100 million in punitive damages.

Khalifa Hafter, the renegade Libyan general whose forces from the east of the country launched an ongoing military assault on the capital Tripoli in early April, is facing a lawsuit filed by four Libyan families residing in the United States.

The families accuse Hafter, who has American citizenship, of crimes against humanity and violations of human rights in Libya as his forces continue to engage with troops loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in a bid to oust what they have described as “terrorists”.

However, civilians have also been indiscriminately targeted by Hafter’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) which is loyal to the opposing House of Representatives (HoR) government based in Tobruk in the east.

The ongoing fighting has killed hundreds and displaced thousands.

The families lodged the lawsuit in the county court of the State of Virginia, calling for investigations into Haftar’s crimes and urged for him to be held accountable for them as per US laws, since he is an American citizen, the Libya Observer reported.

The lawsuits call for financial compensations of about $100 million in punitive damages and $25 million in compensation for the suffering and traumas caused by Haftar’s forces attacks on their relatives, killing and injuring many of them in artillery shelling and airstrikes on the outskirts of Tripoli.

A similar lawsuit was previously launched in a Paris court by a Libyan man living abroad after he accused Hafter of killing his family members in Benghazi in 2014.

The case was made by French lawyers who called on the government to probe Haftar at a time he was on French soil, but nothing happened.

– African News Agency

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