A US Federal judge on Friday issued a default judgement against former Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, finding him liable for war crimes against several Libyan families who have accused him of extrajudicial killings and torture.
Judge Leonie Brinkema’s judgement, which follows a Previous recommendation from a magistrate judge last month, paves the way for the families in three separate civil suits to seek monetary compensation.
Following Brinkema’s decision, lawyers for Haftar confirmed that they would be withdrawing as the Libyan commander’s counsel, leaving him without a lawyer going forward.
Several Libyan families had filed lawsuits against Haftar in US courts in 2019 and 2020, in which the Libyan commander was accused of torturing and killing their relatives.
The families filed their lawsuits under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, a law that allows non-US citizens to seek compensation from individuals who, acting in an official capacity for any foreign nation, allegedly committed torture or extrajudicial killing.
Haftar, a US citizen who had been a Virginia resident for decades, unsuccessfully tried to have the civil lawsuits tossed out under the claim of immunity as head of state.