A criminal complaint filed Friday accuses a former commander at a U.S. air base in Sicily of murder.
According to legal documents shared exclusively with The Intercept and Italy’s Avvenire, most of the men killed were members of the Libyan armed forces; several had previously fought against Al Qaeda or even alongside the United States when it battled the Islamic State in the city of Sirte two years earlier.
“Unfortunately, this strike isn’t unique. It’s a story that we’ve heard again and again and again. It isn’t only that bad intelligence led to a bad strike that killed civilians. Even more damaging is the complete lack of engagement afterwards,” said Jennifer Gibson, a human rights lawyer and project lead on extrajudicial killing at Reprieve, one of the NGOs — along with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Italy’s Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo — that filed the criminal complaint. “There’s been no attempt to properly investigate. No attempt to engage with the community for more than three years. And no attempt to learn from the mistake that was made. This all means that the cycle will repeat and, in the future, more civilians are going to die.”
“This community is saying to the Italian government and the American government that enough is enough. They’re calling it what it is. Under the Italian domestic code, this strike amounts to murder,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson. “But what communities in Yemen and Libya are also saying to European governments is that you’re also responsible if you facilitate the drone program. If Ramstein can only carry out lawful strikes, there are no more strikes in Yemen. If the drones can’t launch from Sigonella, they don’t hit this community in Ubari.”