Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday that armed groups loyal to the self-styled Libyan National Army forces (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar appear to have summarily executed dozens of men in the town of Al-Abyar which is under their control.
HRW indicated in its lengthy report that the relatives of six of the victims told it that the executed men had been arrested on various dates by armed groups loyal to the Haftar's forces in Benghazi or in other areas controlled by the so-called LNA.
The Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW, Eric Goldstein, explained that Haftar's army pledges to conduct inquiries into repeated unlawful killings in areas under its control in eastern Libya have so far led nowhere, adding that the "LNA" will be condoning apparent war crimes "if its pledge to investigate the gruesome discovery in Al-Abyar proves to be another empty promise."
"All relatives of the victims said the bodies bore one or more gunshot wounds, and that their hands were tied behind their backs, based on information they obtained from family members who identified the bodies at the Benghazi Medical Center." HRW report adds.
HRW added that one of its forensic investigators, who reviewed the photos, said the injuries of the massacred men were consistent with executions at point blank range at the location where the bodies were discovered.
"The bodies appeared not to have been disturbed between the time of execution and the time of discovery," Stefan Schmitt - the forensic investigator -added, explaining that the photos were most likely taken within several hours of the killings, as the blood appeared not to have fully congealed.
Benghazi has been for the last three years the playground of Haftar-led forces to commit atrocities and human rights violations as well as war crimes in the name of fighting terrorism.