8250th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Libya

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09-May-2018 01:36:32
Failure to hand over indictees in Libya will undermine cause of justice, International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor warns Security Council at 8250th meeting.

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Despite significant progress in the International Criminal Court’s investigation of crimes committed within Libya in 2011 — including its first visit to the country in five years, in March 2018 — the cause of criminal justice would be undermined unless accused perpetrators were handed over, the Chief Prosecutor told the Security Council today.

Presenting her fifteenth report, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda called upon Libyan authorities to surrender three suspects for whom the Court had issued warrants of arrest: Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al‑Werfalli, Saif al‑Islam Qadhafi and Al‑Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled. Cooperation among the Security Council, States parties as well as non‑States parties to the Court’s founding Rome Statute was also vital to advancing those cases and sending a message to would‑be perpetrators.

“The Libyan people deserve answers,” she asserted, emphasizing that suspects could not be sheltered. Seeking justice for victims would remain a priority. She also voiced extreme concern over reports of slave auctions, describing them as an abhorrent assault on the “oneness of humanity”, and over the reported abuse of migrants in detention centres run by national authorities or by militias, while outlining her intention to apply for arrest warrants against other suspects in the near future.

In the ensuing dialogue, several delegates expressed support for the Court’s work and execution of its mandate in Libya under resolution 1970 (2011), calling for the perpetrators of human rights violations to be brought to justice. Others, including Kazakhstan’s representative, said political instability and a breakdown in the rule of law had led to widespread rights abuses.

Unless a solution was found, said Equatorial Guinea’s delegate, efforts to counter terrorist actions in West and Central African countries would be in vain, since the causes of the evils affecting that subregion’s countries had arisen from the support provided to the terrorist group Boko Haram by Libyan criminal gangs.

Tackling those issues required cooperation among all States, whether or not they were signatories to the Rome Statute, said Bolivia’s delegate, pointing out that some permanent Security Council members were not States parties to the treaty, nor had they assisted the Court’s investigations. Peru’s delegate added that concerted efforts would provide an opportunity to strengthen the rule of law, both domestically and internationally.

Yet, Kuwait’s representative stressed that the Court must also take national jurisdiction into account in respect of cases before Libyan tribunals. The Court’s work should be done in the context of “desired integration” with the national judiciary, as a supplement to national jurisdiction, in accordance with the Rome Statute.

On that point, the representative of the Russian Federation said the Court had long ago recused itself from investigating cases involving the air strikes carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Its work had been selective, with warrants limited to members of Muammar al‑Qadhafi’s inner circle, but not rebels or terrorists, he added.

Libya’s delegate explained that the delay in prosecuting the accused did not mean that national justice did not wish to punish those responsible for crimes. The fragile security situation was to blame, he said, advocating the enhancement of Libyan justice to ensure accountability and prevent crimes, especially those arising from the proliferation of arms used by militias. “We recognize the rights of migrants and the scope of their suffering.”

He went on to express hope that the next report by the Office of the Prosecutor would mention procedural efforts to fight criminals in their countries of origin and destination, which could reduce instability in Libya, a transit country. The fight against impunity should be based on the concept of territory and the primacy of law, he said, noting that Libyan authorities wished to observe the Court’s jurisdiction.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Ethiopia, France, Sweden, Côte d’Ivoire, Netherlands, China and Poland.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:40 a.m.
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