Political progress in Libya ‘carries promise’ of ending impunity for atrocity crimes – ICC Prosecutor

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

5 November 2015 – After a “seemingly endless cycle of violence,” Libya’s incessant conflict and political division may soon come to an end, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the United Nations Security Council today, noting that significant progress is being made towards achieving the goal of peace and stability in the country.

“The ongoing national dialogue facilitated by the United Nations, towards the establishment of a Libyan Government of National Accord represents hope for transition to national unity and durable peace,” said ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, as she presented her latest report on the situation in the country to the Council.

She added that the UN-supported exercise carries the important promise for Libya's efforts in the promotion of the rule of law, the protection of civilians and the ending of impunity for atrocity crimes.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), she continued, had facilitated successful talks towards the resolution of the Tawergha issue, during the course of which the Misrata/Tarwergha Joint Committee also affirmed its full support to the political dialogue and the formation of a Government of National Accord and establish the rule of law, end the conflict and safeguard Libyan unity.

“The era of accountability and rule of law, on which to build the future of the country, may indeed be within reach for the Libyan people. We, as a collective, cannot fail the people of Libya by standing idly by as the country degenerates into chaos and further instability,” she emphasized.

She further stressed the importance of undertaking investigations with respect to the ongoing atrocity crimes in Libya and called for additional support from the support of the Security Council.

“I equally and strongly invite the Council to seriously consider assisting the Office [of the Prosecutor], in accordance with article 115(b) of the Rome Statute, to obtain the resources required for the effective investigations of alleged crimes committed in a situation that has been referred to the Court by this august body,” said Ms. Bensouda.

She also recalled that the Appeals Chamber of the ICC affirmed the admissibility of the case against Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and the inadmissibility of the case against Abdullah A1-Senussi.

“The Libyan authorities must heed the Council's calls for cooperation and comply with the Court’s request to immediately surrender Sail Al-Islam Gaddafi to the ICC,” urged Ms. Bensouda, stating that earlier this year, the Tripoli Court of Assize sentenced both Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah A1-Senussi, among other co-defendants, to death for the crimes they allegedly committed during Libya's 2011 uprising.

At the same time, Ms. Bensouda said that ICC continues to monitor the situation in Libya and added that she is concerned that large scale crimes, including those of the ICC jurisdiction are being committed by all parties in the conflict.

“I remain equally concerned that all sides including the Libyan National Army (LNA), Libya Dawn, and the so called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL; and their respective allies, and international actors continue to commit attacks resulting in civilian casualties,” she stressed.

She said that of the reported 634 separate incidents, a total of 1,539 violent deaths were recorded, Total numbers of violent deaths have seen an average monthly increase in 2015. Civilian deaths have fluctuated, though no less than 60 per month have been recorded this year alone. She added that during the reporting period there have also been a high number of civilian deaths attributed to ISIL and its allies.

“I reiterate here my Office's willingness and commitment to undertake further investigations in Libya, but stress once again the need for States Parties, and the Council, to ensure adequate funding to my Office for this purpose,” said Ms. Bensouda.

She also reiterated her previous calls to Member States, non-Member States and international organization to assist Libya in strengthening its national capacity to respond to Rome Statute crimes through the formation of an international contact group on justice issues.

Ms. Bensouda restated the support of her Office to the efforts of the Libyan Government and its international partners to “address impunity in Libya and reaffirms its commitment in the dialogue with this Council on that mission.”

“Ending impunity for atrocity crimes in Libya is an important goal that is both achievable and necessary for sustainable peace and stability in the country. It is also a goal that can only be met through the joint action, commitment and substantial support of all the relevant actors,” said Ms. Bensouda.

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