Libya court allows warlord Khalifa Haftar to run for president

Libya court allows warlord Khalifa Haftar to run for president
The appeals court in Libya's capital has annulled a previous decision to ban militia leader Khalifa Haftar from running in the presidential elections
2 min read
07 December, 2021
Many have filed lawsuits against Haftar and have appealed his candidacy over alleged war crimes [Getty]

A Libyan court on Monday annulled a previous ruling excluding militia leader Khalifa Haftar from participating in the Libyan presidential elections.

The Tripoli appeals court ruling means the commander is now allowed to stand as a candidate for the polls scheduled to take place later this month, the first since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power a decade ago.

Another court in Benghazi on 28 November also refused to accept an appeal against Haftar’s candidacy.

The Zawiya court, west of Tripoli, last Tuesday had accepted an appeal against Haftar, dropping him from the electoral race.

A US judge last month postponed a lawsuit against Haftar until after the elections on 24 December, on the basis that she was concerned "this litigation is being used to influence Libya’s fragile political situation".

The warlord is targeted in civil lawsuits by relatives of people they claim were killed by his forces.

Similar petitions in Libya have been made against interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah as well as a son of Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam. Both attempts to disqualify them were rejected, thus allowing them to run.

Both Haftar and Gaddafi are very controversial figures linked to serious human rights abuses.

The elections - the first round of which will happen in December and the second round in January - are part of an UN-led process attempting to draw a line under a decade of conflict since the fall and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

But the run-up to the vote has been marred by bitter divisions over the legal and constitutional framework, and many in western Libya have rejected any run by eastern General Haftar, who led a devastating but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to seize the capital before he was pushed back in 2020.

Millions have either been killed or displaced by the war, with many parts of Libya left in ruins.