Is a Libyan Warlord Beyond Law's Reach?
Since February 2018, Libyan nationals have filed three lawsuits in U.S. court demanding a jury trial on allegations that Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army, is responsible for the torture and extrajudicial killing of the plaintiffs' deceased family members.
The lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, seek millions of dollars in damages under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), the Alien Tort Statute and several provisions of Virginia state law.
At their core, the suits ask not just whether Hifter ordered, aided or knew about the war crimes that allegedly occurred. They also ask whether American law can do what Libyan domestic law and international law, so far, could not: hold a warlord accountable for past atrocities.