International Criminal Court to Prioritise Libya

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda (pictured), has presented her 14th report on Libya to the United Nations Security Council.

In her address to the UNSC, she said Libya will remain a priority for her Office in 2018.

Statement to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Libya, pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011):

Mr President,

1.         Thank you for giving me the floor. Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on presiding over the Presidency of this august body for the month of November, and to take this opportunity to equally thank you for your continued support of the work of my Office and, the ICC more broadly, both as Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations here in New York as well as Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties.

Mr President, Your Excellencies,

2.         I welcome the opportunity to up-date the Council on my Office’s activities in Libya since I last reported to you in May of this year.

3.         I observe with regret that the security situation in Libya remains a matter of great concern. Indeed, as this Council has stated repeatedly, the volatile situation in Libya remains a threat to international peace and security.

4.         Libya continues to confront many challenges: the proliferation of armed groups; continued – though lessened – activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or “ISIL”; the humanitarian crisis created by Libya being the key transit point for hundreds of thousands of migrants, and the on-going struggle for political power in many parts of the country.

5.         At the same time, and notwithstanding these challenges, it is important to recognise the efforts of numerous actors, first and foremost, the Libyans themselves, as well as Libya’s neighbours, international partners and regional organisations, who are all working to achieve peace and stability in Libya through an inclusive dialogue.

6.         As underlined recently by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ghassan Salamé, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the re-establishment of the rule of law, the protection of human rights and the need to combat impunity must form part of the process that will lead to a sustainable political settlement in Libya.

7.         Justice is an important component of sustainable peace. Courts with competent jurisdiction over crimes committed in Libya, including the International Criminal Court, have a crucial role to play. Accountability for serious crimes and full respect for the rule of law are key factors which must be encouraged and supported if Libya is to achieve peace, security and stability.

8.         We are striving to do our part.  Since my last report before the Council six months ago, my Office has made substantial progress in the investigations of alleged crimes committed in Libya.

9.         In that regard, let me now turn to the most recent warrant of arrest issued by the Court in the Libya situation.

10.       You will recall that in my May 2017-statement and report to this Council, I highlighted reports of serious crimes allegedly being committed in the context of the conflict between forces of the Libyan National Army or “LNA” and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, in and around Benghazi.  Specifically, I noted reports of serious crimes, including summary executions allegedly committed following the LNA takeover of the Ganfouda neighbourhood of Benghazi on or around the 18th of March earlier this year.

11.       I called on all parties to the conflict to refrain from carrying out serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. I reminded all parties to the conflict of the provisions of the Rome Statute relating to the responsibility of commanders and superiors to prevent or repress the commission of crimes by their forces, and to submit any such crimes for investigation and prosecution.

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