ICC mandate still essential to ending impunity in Libya

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Fatou B. Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. [UN Photo/Rick Bajornas]

Given the extensive crimes committed in Libya and the challenges facing the new Libyan government, the International Criminal Court’s mandate is still essential to ending impunity in Libya, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Mrs. Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

As such, she adds, her office continues to conduct investigations of crimes committed in Libya.

According to Mrs. Bensouda, the Internataional Criminal Court is aware of allegations of serious crimes committed by former Gaddafi officials, some of whom she says, are now outside of Libya.

She says the Court is currently engaged in the process of documenting the most serious of those crimes and documenting the current activities of those officials who were most responsible for them.

The prosecutor says her office plans to take a decision regarding a second case in the near future, and will consider additional cases after that, depending on the Government of Libya’s progress in implementing its comprehensive strategy.

“My Office also continues to be concerned about the allegations of crimes committed by rebel forces, including the expulsion of residents of Tawergha, who have been unable to return home, ongoing alleged persecution of ethnic groups perceived to have been affiliated with the Gaddafi regime, and specific incidents as yet unaccounted for, like the alleged execution of fifty persons on the grounds of the Mahari Hotel in Sirte in October 2011, and alleged arbitrary detention, torture, killings and destruction of property that arose during Libyan government and militia operations in Bani Walid in September 2012.”

Ms. Bensouda says recent signs of progress cannot eclipse the challenge that Libya faces in addressing the legacy of so many years of impunity, adding that it needs not be a challenge that Libya faces alone.

She explains that by the same token, Libya must realize that with the international intervention in the country, in the context of all of the developments in the last three years in the region, what happens with Libya’s perpetrators is a page in the history books of international justice, no matter where those investigations and prosecutions take place.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 2’08″

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