(Washington, D.C., 9/15/2022) – Today, the Libyan American Alliance (LAA) announced at a press conference that its Legal Team has filed a new legal case – Benamara et al v. Hifter (Case No. 1:22-cv-01052) – against the military commander Khalifa Hifter, a dual Libyan-American citizen, for his alleged role in the January 2020 bombing of a military academy in Libya.
LAA’s Legal Team represents three families of three young cadets, ages 18, 19, and 26, who were killed during an airstrike on the Tripoli Military Academy on January 4, 2020. These students were just three of the 26 unarmed students killed while they performed their daily drills at the college.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that Hifter is personally liable for the unlawful extrajudicial killing of these cadets through his complete command authority over the LNA and external groups who aided and conspired with the LNA to launch the subject airstrike.
LAA’s President, Dr. Esam Omeish, affirmed that: “It is imperative to name-and-shame all actors disrupting the path toward a peaceful political solution in Libya, including Hifter and the forces loyal to Hifter, which have a well-documented record of indiscriminate attacks on civilians and violations of international human rights law.”
Under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991 (“TVPA”), U.S. citizens and non-citizens are permitted to file civil claims addressing torture and/or extrajudicial killings committed in a foreign country by an individual who acts “under actual or apparent authority, or color of law” of such foreign nation before a U.S. court.
The plaintiffs in this new filing, as with as the plaintiffs in the other three civil suits against Hifter, have not been able to receive any justice for their slain loved ones amid the inadequacy of the Libyan judicial system, the unavailability of a remedy in the Libyan courts, and perpetual instability of the Libyan political system. The TVPA allows the victims to gain some semblance of justice.
Hifter has already been named as a Defendant in three separate civil suits in the Eastern District Court of Virginia for his alleged responsibility in the extrajudicial killing and torture of Libyan civilians. LAA is lead consultant on the first suit ever filed against Hifter.