New ICC Investigation Needed Amid Crisis

United Nations Security Council members should use the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s briefing on her Libya investigation on May 12, 2015, to speak out strongly against the state of impunity in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today.

In the face of mounting atrocities, the ICC prosecutor should urgently exercise the mandate given unanimously to her by the Security Council to pursue an investigation into ongoing crimes.

The Security Council is watching Libya descend into chaos as horrendous crimes multiply,” said Richard Dicker (pictured), international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Given the Libyan authorities’ inability to rein in these abuses, much less prosecute those responsible, it’s time for the ICC prosecutor to expand her investigations.

The briefing comes as armed conflicts combined with the collapse of a central government authority have eliminated any semblance of law and order in many parts of the country.

Unchecked violence stemming from the hostilities has killed hundreds of people, including civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes, contributed to a rise in migrant boats departing Libya for Europe, damaged medical facilities, and destroyed vital civilian infrastructure, including Tripoli’s main airport.

In the face of rising instability, the UN has been facilitating a dialogue aimed at creating a national unity government and ending the armed hostilities. In October 2014, Human Rights Watch called on Bernardino Leon, the UN special representative charged with brokering talks between the various factions, to ensure that accountability for the most serious crimes is an integral part of the process.

To be durable, any final agreement on the military and political crisis in Libya must adequately address the need for justice for grave abuses, Human Rights Watch said.

Over the last year, armed groups have attacked civilians and civilian property, with violations in some cases that amount to war crimes. Human Rights Watch has also documented other serious violations of international law since 2011, including arbitrary detentions, torture, forced displacement, and unlawful killings. Many of these violations are sufficiently organized and widespread to amount to crimes against humanity.

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