Staples do not show up for landfill accusation

Putzist General Khalifa Haftar, who has lived in the United States for decades, failed to show up for a deposit as part of a federal trial that accused him of war crimes in Libya.

Haftar had planned to appear for seven hours in a long-sought-after video deposit where he would be asked about his role in alleged extrajudicial killings and torture of Libyan civilians in the country’s decades-long civil war.

He is on trial in three separate civil proceedings in the US District Court in Alexandria. Haftar tried unsuccessfully to get the lawsuits abolished and claimed immunity as head of state. Then, on the eve of his dismissal last year, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema put the lawsuits on hold and said she wanted to ensure they were not used to disrupt planned elections in the country.

Earlier this year, Brinkema resumed the moods after the elections were delayed indefinitely.

Haftar’s failure to appear on Monday was confirmed by Esam Omeish with the Libyan American Alliance, which supports a group of plaintiffs, and by Mark Zaid, a lawyer representing another group of plaintiffs.

Monday would be the day for lawyers in all three cases to interrogate Haftar to gather information relevant to their case. Lawyers met on Friday in the federal courthouse in Alexandria to clarify the rules for the implementation of the deposit.

But over the weekend, Haftar said his official duties made it impossible to sit for a deposit and asked for a month’s delay, Omeish said.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said it was unacceptable and said they would seek a third-party verdict against him for failing to appear.

Haftar was once a lieutenant of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and fled to the United States in the 1980s and spent many years in northern Virginia, where he and his family continue to own extensive property, according to the lawsuit. He is widely believed to have worked with the CIA during his time in exile.

He returned to Libya to support the anti-Gaddafi forces that rebelled against the dictator and killed him in 2011. Over the past decade, he has led the militia, which has controlled large parts of the eastern half of the country, with support from countries including Russia. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Haftar had carried out a year-long attack on Tripoli and left thousands dead before reaching a formal ceasefire with his Western opponents in October last year.

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reported that Haftar’s failed offensive against the capital Tripoli involved a pattern of violence and the use of mines by retreating forces that injured civilians, which is a war crime when used indiscriminately.

A UN-backed government has controlled the capital of Tripoli, with extensive support from Turkey. A ceasefire between the warring sides in 2020 was supposed to lead to elections in December 2021, but they never occurred. Negotiations to set a new election date were concluded last month without success.

Haftar’s lawyer in the USA, Jesse Binnall, did not immediately return an e-mail on Monday to receive comments.

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