Fatou Bensouda: “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.”
Photo Wikimedia Commons
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is calling for the arrest of fugitives in violence-plagued unstable Libya.
Deploring continued suffering of civilians in Libya, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Wednesday called on the Security Council to redouble its efforts to ensure compliance with her mandate to end impunity, in order to foster stability in the country.
“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,” Fatou Bensouda said in her Office’s eighteenth report following referral of the situation to the Court.
Her Office, she said, has made further progress in its existing investigations and is continuing to work on applications for new warrants of arrest, in its efforts to hold accountable those alleged to be responsible for committing serious crimes.
Unfortunately, she said, three fugitives who stand accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity have not been handed over, including Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who has been determined to be in Libya along with Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, who has even been promoted within the national army. Information on the third, Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, points to his presence in Egypt.
She urged all States, including Libya and Egypt, to facilitate the immediate arrest and surrender of the fugitives to the Court.
Noting continued killing of civilians, a car bombing, indiscriminate shelling, summary executions and airstrikes against a migrant detention center, she flagged her Office’s continued assessments of breaches of international law. “Let me be clear, I will not hesitate 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.
Her Office continued to analyze events at migrant detention centers in that light, she said. Cooperation with national authorities has helped identify which judicial actors are best suited to deal with crimes against migrants, and her Office has also provided key evidence and information to national authorities in several such cases. She recognized the ongoing cooperation of the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s Office in the effort.
She called on all parties to immediately cease all indiscriminate attacks and comply with international humanitarian law and to render fugitives to the Court. Noting that it is nearly a decade since the Council referred the situation to the Court, she affirmed that Libya will continue to be a priority situation for her Office in 2020.
“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.”
Following that briefing, Council Members expressed deep concern at the continued violence in Libya and the toll among civilians. Most speakers also expressed full support for the activity of the Prosecutor’s Office in combating impunity and helping restore the rule of law in the country, urging cooperation with the Court.
The representative of Belgium, among those who urged the handover of fugitives to the Court, said that barring such an action, the Council should consider all possible measures, including additions to its Libya sanctions list.
Most speakers emphasized the need to resume the political process to end the violence in Libya. In that vein, the representative of China underlined 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.
Speaking after the Council members, the representative of Libya said that while the pursuit of justice is a national and sovereign jurisdiction, the Government of National Accord is fully committed to implementing resolution 1970 (2011) and the related mandate of the International Criminal Court. He recalled his Government’s requests, in addition, for a fact-finding mission to investigate recent attacks and other crimes. National judicial institutions will be capable of holding perpetrators accountable once stability is achieved, he added. He also noted Government efforts to protect migrants.
Recognizing concerns over the slow pace of national efforts to pursue several suspected criminal perpetrators, he said those delays are a result of the ongoing conflict including recent attacks on Tripoli by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Against that backdrop, he urged the Council to continue to prioritize the situation in Libya and to adopt a binding resolution aimed at ending hostilities and compelling aggressor forces to retreat.
Also speaking Wednesday were the representatives of the Russian Federation, France, United States, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, Poland, Kuwait, South Africa, Germany, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.