Security Council (Situation in Libya)
Note: Following is a partial summary of statements made in today’s Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. A complete summary will be issued later as Press Release SC/14015.
FATOU BENSOUDA, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, presented her Office’s eighteenth report on the situation in Libya pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011). Detailing an escalation of violence there since her last report, she said that “the implosion of Libya must carry a heavy burden on the conscience of the international community and galvanize meaningful action to assist the Libyan authorities to bring stability to the country, and an end to the cycle of violence, atrocities and impunity”. In its efforts to stem impunity and hold accountable those alleged to be responsible for committing serious crimes, she said, her Office has made further progress in its existing investigations and is continuing to work on applications for new warrants of arrest.
Regarding the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, she said the Appeals Chamber recently ordered a hearing be schedule for 11 to 12 November to hear materials related to Mr. Gaddafi’s appeal against the decision that deemed his case admissible. Noting that the Security Council had declined to submit observations on the appeal, she stressed that irrespective of the current proceedings, Libya remains under an obligation to arrest and surrender Mr. Gaddafi to the Court. She said that also remaining at large are Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled and Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli. Those three fugitives stand accused of war crimes of murder, torture, outrages upon personal dignity and crimes against humanity of persecution, imprisonment and other inhumane acts. Noting that her Office has information on their current whereabouts, in Libya and Egypt in the case of Mr. Al-Tuhamy, she stated that justice still eludes the victims of their alleged crimes. In fact, Mr. Al-Werfalli has been promoted twice within the Libyan National Army. She urged all States, including Libya and Egypt, to facilitate the immediate arrest and surrender of the fugitives to the Court.
Noting the continued killing of civilians, a car bomb attack that killed several United Nations staff members, indiscriminate shelling of the Tripoli airport, airstrikes against a migrant detention centre and reports of summary executions at Gharyan hospital, she condemned all unlawful violence and reiterated her previous calls to all parties to pay heed to the rules of international humanitarian law. At the same time, she affirmed that her team continues to examine allegations against all parties to assess whether they bear criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute. “Let me be clear, I will not hesitate to bring new applications for warrants of arrest against those most responsible for alleged crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC [International Criminal Court],” she avowed.
Concerning crimes against migrants in Libya, she reported that her team continues to analyse documentary, digital and testimonial evidence related to allegations of crimes at detention centres and is assessing the viability of bringing related cases before the Court. Consistent with the principle of complementarity, in which her Court is a last resort when States do not genuinely investigate and prosecute serious international crimes, her team is assisting States that are investigating and prosecuting individuals who have alleged committed crimes against migrants in Libya, she said. So far, cooperation with national actors has helped identify which judicial elements are best placed for this purpose. Her Office has also provided key evidence and information to national authorities in a number of cases relating to crimes against migrants. In that effort, she recognized the ongoing cooperation of the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s Office.
“The cycle of impunity has provided a breeding ground for atrocities in Libya,” she said, reiterating the need to ensure accountability, notably through the arrest of fugitives. She called on all parties to immediately cease all indiscriminate attacks and comply with international humanitarian law. Affirming that Libya will continue to be a priority situation for her Office in 2020, she noted that it will soon be a decade since the Security Council referred the situation to it. “The people of Libya deserve peace and stability,” she said, concluding, “Bringing those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice facilitates that coveted outcome.”
GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation) said the Prosecutor’s report gives “strangely short shrift” to results achieved by the International Criminal Court in Libya. “I have no comment,” he said, stressing that the people of Libya deserve stability.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) described it as deplorable that three of the Court’s warrants in Libya have not been carried out and that impunity continues unabated. “The Security Council definitely cannot remain indifferent to this situation” when itself brought the situation to the Court’s attention, he said. Pointing out that the Prosecutor’s office has information on the whereabouts of three suspects, he called on all concerned authorities to facilitate their immediate handover. Barring such a handover, the Council should consider all possible measures, including additions to its Libya sanctions list. Urging stakeholders to support national-level investigations and prosecutions, he emphasized that the International Criminal Court is not responsible for prosecuting all suspects accused of committing serious crimes — instead, it is only intended to be complementary to State efforts.
SHERAZ GASRI (France) said a permanent criminal court is more necessary than ever to break the cycles of violence and impunity present in too many conflict situations. Describing the Court as the pillar of such efforts at the international level, she underlined France’s support for the Prosecutor’s work in Libya, where unacceptable human rights violations have increased in recent months. There is an urgent need for the parties to resume dialogue, agree on a ceasefire and reach a political solution leading to fair and credible elections. Calling for an international conference to support those goals, she urged all stakeholders — especially the Libyan parties themselves — to cooperate with a view to restoring stability. All States concerned, whether or not they are parties to the Rome Statute, must cooperate with the Court. Meanwhile, she said, crimes committed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other non-State groups, as well as crimes against migrants, should be investigated.
JULIAN SIMCOCK (United States) said it is shameful that some of the most notorious perpetrators of crimes against Libya’s people continue to enjoy impunity. Calling on anyone harbouring those individuals to deliver them to the Libya’s authorities, he said their prosecution would deliver a powerful message to any future abusers. Expressing regret that “we collectively have little to show to the Libyan people”, he pointed out that Libya’s civil war continues with casualties escalating and human rights abuses — including torture, sexual violence, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests — ongoing. Anyone responsible for such crimes, including State authorities, must be held to account. Calling for a ceasefire, a political agreement and State reforms, he went on to condemn recent attacks against United Nations staff and any others working to restore stability to the country. While justice is crucial, the right tools must be used. In that context, he reiterated the United States longstanding position against the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over any non-Parties absent a referral from the Security Council.
TIEMOKO MORIKO (Cote d’Ivoire), affirming support for the Office of the Prosecutor and calling on all States to fully cooperate with the Court to bring an end to impunity, expressed deep concern that continued violence in Libya has allowed ISIS/Da’esh to take root. In that context, he regretted the decision of the European Union to suspend operation Sophia, the bloc’s military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean. He urged all parties to bring alleged perpetrators to justice. Justice must be part of reconciliation in Libya and expansion of the Court’s activities to include crimes committed against migrants is critical, he stressed. He urged the Security Council to pool efforts with the African Union Peace and Security Council to bring about a swift end to the turmoil in Libya and provide an environment in which justice can be served there.
PAUL DUCLOS (Peru) expressed deep concern over violence against civilians in Libya, including against vulnerable individuals. Reports of atrocity crimes are particularly troubling, he said. He called on Libya’s authorities as well as those of all other relevant nations to execute the arrest warrants from the Court. Cooperation with the Court must be seen as an opportunity to strengthen judicial capacity in the national Government as well. Affirming the need for the Court to investigate crimes against migrants, he said that its activities are an essential element in the international rules-based order.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said that her country remains supportive of the International Criminal Court’s efforts to fight impunity and ensure the accountability of those responsible for the most serious crimes of international concern committed in Libya. Poland welcomes the cooperation of States and other stakeholders with the Office of the Prosecutor regarding its investigations on the situation in Libya and encourages its further development. Cooperation with the Office is particularly important given the multiple, serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that have been reportedly committed since the issuing of the previous report of the Prosecutor. Her country is grateful for the Office’s monitoring, investigative and analytical activity relating to such crimes.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) expressed support for the work of the Prosecutor’s Office amid delicate security conditions in Libya. Joining other speakers in voicing concern over recent clashes on the ground, he called on the parties to exercise restraint, abide by international law and engage in dialogue. He also echoed expressions of concern over detention of migrants in poor conditions. The International Criminal Court must take into account national criminal jurisdiction in order to achieve complementarity with Libya’s judicial system, he said.
ZHANG DIANBIN (China) said the situation in Libya must be resolved through a political process. All parties should focus on the interests of the people, reach a ceasefire, ease tensions and return to a course of dialogue. China supports any efforts with a view to those goals, including the Special Representative’s proposed three-point plan. Calling on the international community to play its role in that process by implementing all relevant recommendations, he underlined his delegation’s support for a Libya-owned and Libya-led reconciliation process. The international community should provide the country with support, while also fully respecting its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that China’s position on the International Criminal Court remains unchanged.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) expressed support for resolution 1970 (2011), which calls for a cessation of violence towards civilians and mandating the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity. While South Africa is concerned with the lack of movement on some of the cases, it is encouraged by Libya’s efforts to try cases domestically, and urges that justice is carried out as expeditiously as possible. While welcoming the Office of the Prosecutor’s increased focus on cooperation with Tripoli and other relevant States to support national investigations and prosecutions, South Africa remains concerned about the ongoing fighting in Libya and condemns the loss of civilian lives and crimes against migrants. He called on all parties to recommit to building durable peace in Libya on the basis of inclusive political dialogue.