War Crimes in Gharyan: Forensics Confirm Executions by GNA Militias at Gharyan Hospital – Al Marsad

Libya’s Centre for Judicial Expertise (CJE) has conducted forensic investigations and identified the cause of death of several members of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Central Security Apparatus (CSA) after GNA militias entered Gharyan. The report concluded that LNA and CSA soldiers and officers were executed by GNA militias at Gharyan Hospital after they were captured. This article contains graphic images.

Forensic Report Confirms Victims Were Executed

[Libya, 1 July 2019] – Copies of death certificates which have been obtained by Al Marsad after the prosecutor granted permission to bury the victims, prove that the Centre for Judicial Expertise’s (CJE) Department of Forensic Medicine team did indeed confirm that a number of soldiers had been shot dead.

Doctors also confirmed that the victims were shot from a close range with some being shot in the head with bullets that pierced their skulls from back to front, whilst others were shot at with rounds of bullets from a close distance. Some of the bodies also displayed markings of cars run over them. This clearly shows that the summary execution and mutilation constitutes a war crime committed by the GNA militas.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) has denied any acts of revenge or summary executions in Gharyan. However, the GNA denial has been refuted by the accounts of survivors after the entry into Gharyan by troops loyal to the Tripoli Government.

Bodies of Slain Soldiers Returned to their Families

The Red Crescent in the city of Zintan (ZRC) received 40 corpses from the Gharyan University Hospital. From there the bodies were airlifted and transported by land to the victims’ families. The bodies of executed soldiers from Cyrenaica were flown to Benghazi; the bodies of those from the South were transported to Wadi el-Shati; while victims from the Western region were transported to the city of al-Asabia where they were buried in the city’s cemetery.

Zintan’s Red Crescent on Saturday posted pictures of the victims on its official Facebook page which clearly showed that the victims had sustained gunshots to the head. The photos also showed signs of torture, lacerations and facial mutilation due to proximity of the deliberate shooting which was cited in the forensic reports of the Centre for Judicial Expertise (CJE). However, the ZRC stressed its lack of jurisdiction in determining the cause of the deaths yet the forensic evidence left little doubt.

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The Murder of Saleh Ibrahim bin Ali al-Khazali

Meanwhile, the family of soldier Saleh Ibrahim bin Ali al-Khazali who was also killed by the GNA militia received his body in his hometown of Bayda. The body was sent from the morgue of the Gharyan University Hospital. The slain soldier first appeared in a footage which was published on Facebook at the same hospital, where he appeared to be injured and was speaking consciously, before he was killed by the militias.

Saleh Ibrahim bin Ali al-Khazali

The father of the victim made a statement following the funeral of his son on Saturday. In a video release (see below), the family of the deceased soldier blamed Major General Usama Juwailli, Commander of the Western Military Region of the Government of National Accord (GNA), for the massacre.


HoR Announces National Mourning, LNA Holds the GNA and Turkey Responsible

The House of Representatives (HoR) condemned the Gharyan summary executions of the LNA and CSA soldiers and declared mourning for three days. The HoR statement said: “The Libyan House of Representatives declares the official mourning in the country three days to mourn the souls of those who have given the homeland their pure lives to provide the Libyan people with security and stability and free it from terrorism, extremism, and cowardly criminal gangs.”

The Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committees of the HoR held Turkey responsible for the massacre due to their use of Turkish killer drones in the attack on Gharyan and assistance in the planned capture of Gharyan from LNA forces. This was confirmed by Major General Mohammad al-Manfour who announced last night the destruction of a Turkish drone on a runway at Mitiga airport. “This attack is in revenge for the martyrs of Gharyan and all our martyrs,” said General al-Manfour.

International Community Silent on GNA War Crimes

There is still deafening silence from the international community on the massacre by GNA Islamist militiamen in Gharyan. There has been no official outrage from Federica Mogherini,High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the EU Commission. Ghassan Salamé the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has yet to issue a condemnation of the massacre against the POWs in Gharyan. Some EU Ambassadors, such as the German Ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza, were insensitive in their official tweets on Gharyan and avoided any reference to the war crimes.

International human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch have not issued any statement on Gharyan or called for an inquiry in what has been beyond doubt a horrendous crime according to the norms of the Geneva Conventions and abuse of human rights. Activists such as Hanan Salah and Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch made no mention as of yet of the war crimes and massacre at Gharyan.

Also surprisingly silent on the massacre and war crimes committed by GNA militias are the western experts, newswire agencies and journalists on Libya. Their focus is typically on the actions of the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the House of Representatives (HoR), and seem to be alarmingly negligent on the human rights abuses and criminal activity of Islamist militias under the GNA, or even on the nature of Turkey’s involvement and support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tripoli-based government and their actions in Gharyan. The recent US State Department 2019 report issued last week which documented the collusion of the GNA with criminal human trafficking rings and the abuse suffered by migrants at the detention centres is likewise swept under the rug. The report revealed disturbing collusion of the GNA with criminal networks:

“During the reporting year, there were continued reports that criminal networks, militia groups, government officials, and private employers exploited migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in sex and labor trafficking.” [2019 Trafficking in Persons Report for Libya].

The fact that such information goes uninvestigated is an indication on how much is unreported by established western media organs and experts aligned to Islamist institutions.

As the Libyan nation mourns the death of over 40 POWs killed brutally by militias under the GNA, in what has been regarded as one of the most brutal massacres and war crimes since the Brak El-Shati massacre by GNA militias in 2017, Libyan commentators hold the GNA government of Fayez Sarraj responsible and are publicly calling for an international enquiry into the war crimes committed in Gharyan. 

Further Resources

Forensic reports of five bodies examined and identified:


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