Trials of Former Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi’s Regime — Whether on Domestic Soil or in The Hague — Could Be Country’s ‘Nuremberg Moment’, Security Council Told

8 May 2013
SC/11000

Trials of Former Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi’s Regime — Whether on Domestic Soil or in The Hague — Could Be Country’s ‘Nuremberg Moment’, Security Council Told

8 May 2013
Security Council
SC/11000
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6962nd Meeting (AM)

Trials of Former Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi’s Regime — Whether on Domestic Soil

Or in The Hague — Could Be Country’s ‘ Nuremberg Moment’, Security Council Told

‘Admissibility Challenge’ Focus of Briefing by International Criminal Court

Prosecutor; Libya Says National Courts Would Follow International Legal Principles

The trials of those charged with committing the most heinous crimes in Libya during former leader Muammar Qadhafi’s 42-year reign could be the country’s “Nuremberg moment” — no matter where they took place — the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the Security Council today, stressing that, above all that, they must be a “shining example” of what could be achieved through human endeavours to seek justice.

Fatou Bensouda said her Office looked forward to discussing the best way forward with Libyan authorities as to how to coordinate efforts to ensure that all alleged perpetrators were held to account.  She was encouraged to see the important strides made in transforming Libya, including the holding of the first democratic elections in more than four decades, the installation of a new Government last November and appointment of a new Prosecutor-General last month.

But, such progress could not eclipse the challenge Libya faced in addressing the legacy of so many years of impunity, she said, stressing that the North African country need not face that challenge alone.  By the same token, it must realize that “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”.

Libya has challenged, under article 19 of the Rome Statute, the Court’s jurisdiction to handle cases against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, one of Mr. Qadhafi’s sons, and former Intelligence Chief Abdullah al-Senussi, arguing that it is willing and able to prosecute those individuals in its domestic legal system.

Following Libya’s filing of admissibility challenges with regard to those cases, she said investigations had been suspended.  She expected the chamber to soon pronounce on submissions made by all parties in the Al-Islam Qadhafi case, adding that her Office last week had responded to Libya’s challenge on the admissibility of the Al-Senussi case.  She commended Libya for invoking its rights under the Rome Statute, as it showed a full understanding of the difference between the Council’s political mandate and the Court’s judicial mandate.

More importantly, she said, Libya was engaged in the development of law:  irrespective of outcome, the admissibility processes would set the standard for how the Court would interact with States regarding national proceedings.  Per the Rome Statute, a State seeking a finding of inadmissibility before the Court must satisfy judges that it was investigating and prosecuting the same persons for the same conduct as that being investigated by the Prosecutor.

To be sure, the Court’s mandate was essential to ending impunity, she said, given the extensive crimes committed in Libya.  Her Office was aware of charges of serious crimes committed by former Qadhafi officials, some of whom were now outside the country.  The Court was documenting the most serious of those crimes and the activities of those most responsible for them.  It would soon pursue a decision in another case and would consider other cases after that, depending on the Government’s progress in implementing its comprehensive strategy.

In addition, her Office was concerned about charges of crimes committed by rebel forces, she said, including the expulsion of residents of Tawergha, ongoing alleged persecution of ethnic groups perceived to have been affiliated with the Qadhafi regime and incidents, such as the alleged execution of 50 persons on the grounds of the Mahari Hotel in Sirte in October 2011, as well as alleged arbitrary detention, torture, killings and destruction of property that had arisen during Government and militia operations in Bani Walid, in September 2012.

More broadly, she said comlementarity and cooperation defined the Court’s relationship with national justice systems; both were essential for the implementation of international justice and punishment of crimes under the Rome Statute.  Above all, both were essential for ensuring that “the prosecution of the few did not result in impunity for the many”.  For that reason, her Office was exploring possibilities for mutually reinforcing judicial activities with Libya.

With that in mind, she had met with the new Libyan Prosecutor-General and the Court’s Libyan Focal Point at The Hague to discuss ongoing investigations.  Those “fruitful” discussions had focused on coordination of efforts to advance the Office’s investigative activities within and outside the country.  She would soon visit Libya to continue those discussions with the highest political authorities.

In the debate that followed, Libya’s delegate assured the Council that prosecuting on domestic soil all those responsible for heinous crimes would be done in line with international legal principles.  All technical arrangements had been made to start trials, he said, reiterating Libya’s interest in eliminating any links with the practices of the previous regime.  The transitional phase was a “decisive and momentous” one for Libyans.  The intertwined challenges facing the Government required patience.  There was no doubt that, with capacity-building assistance, Libya would transform into a real democracy.

Other delegates agreed that significant progress had been made, with several lauding Libya’s efforts to enhance the rule of law, establish a sound legal system and punish serious crimes.  At the same time, others said that problems, such as terrorism, undermined the new Government’s credibility.  The Russian Federation’s delegate said various sources had cited “worrisome data” regarding gaping holes in the Libyan system.  He highly doubted that conditions in Libya were solid enough for equitably conducting legal proceedings for the two cases at hand.

Expressing a different view, Rwanda’s delegate said it was important that the judicial process was conducted by Libyans themselves.  From Rwanda’s experience, justice must be done “close” to the victims.  He hoped the Al-Senussi and the Al-Islam Qadhafi cases would be handled by Libyan courts and he urged that suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity be brought before Libyan jurisdictions.

Offering one way forward, Luxembourg’s representative called for an assessment of whether the Libyan judicial system was impartial enough to try the cases referred to the Court and whether it had the capacity to fully prosecute those cases in accordance with international standards.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Australia, Republic of Korea, China, Guatemala, United Kingdom, Rwanda, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Pakistan, United States, France and Togo.

Ms. Bensouda also made closing remarks.

The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

Background

The Council met today to consider the situation in Libya.

Statements

GARY QUINLAN ( Australia) said that, while some good progress had been made in Libya, the country still faced complex and serious challenges.  It was important that the international response — including of the United Nations Special Mission, the Council’s sanctions regime and international criminal procedures — be coordinated and complementary.  Australia was encouraged at Libya’s continued strong desire to prosecute those accused of committing Rome Statute crimes, and that in challenging the admissibility of its proceedings, the country had followed the Statute’s procedures.  The International Criminal Court’s referral process was a catalyst for Libya’s own efforts, not just regarding the two individuals currently subjected to its  proceedings, but also with respect to the reform of Libya’s judicial system, a decisive element of its transition to democracy.

He stressed, however, that ensuring respect for the rule of law in Libya was the responsibility of the Libyan authorities.  Regardless of the outcome of the jurisdictional challenge, it was important to bear in mind that the Criminal Court’s jurisdiction was limited to “those most responsible” for committing serious international crimes.  Also, Libya must ensure that justice was served in relation to other perpetrators and crimes.  The country should continue to work with the Court to ensure that all allegations of such crimes were investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted, regardless of whether those allegations concerned supporters of Muammar Qadhafi or those who “raised arms” to establish a new Libya.  In closing, he said that in order for the Court to carry out its work effectively, the Security Council needed to find creative ways to support it, including through expanded cooperation.

KIM SOOK ( Republic of Korea) said that many tasks lay ahead in Libya’s nation-building, including adoption of a constitution and the collection of remaining weapons.  Much progress had already been made, he said, noting the national elections held for the first time in four decades.  Successful completion of the transition would concretize a stable peace and democracy.  He urged Libya to adhere to its obligations, including under Security Council resolution 1970 (2011), and to cooperate with the Criminal Court.  With respect to the admissibility of the case against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, Libya must first cooperate to resolve admissibility issues.  Given the challenges it faced in the transitional, post-conflict phase, the country should be given extra time to collect additional material, but the admissibility decision should ultimately be made by the Court’s pre-trial chamber.

He said his country appreciated efforts to investigate alleged crimes by both pro-Qadhafi and rebel forces, and hoped that investigations could corroborate reports and lead to prosecution.  The Criminal Court’s prosecutor should assist Libyan authorities in their investigations.  In that vein, the policy of “positive complementarity” and admissibility challenges could be mutually pertinent.  The Libyan Government, for its part, should formulate, make public and implement activities to prosecute crimes.

EVGENY ZAGAYNOV ( Russian Federation) supported the Court’s efforts to prosecute those who had committed heinous crimes in Libya, but its work continued to stall.  Despite appeals for an objective legal analysis, investigations only focused on suspects in the former Libyan leaders’ entourage.  For two years, no notable progress had been made in prosecuting rebels.  Violence continued today in a post-conflict situation, amid Government problems in exerting control over the country.  He would welcome the Court’s monitoring of that situation.  Also, there were cases pending on civilian casualties and civilian facilities that had been destroyed during the international intervention.  The Court should step up its analysis using sources including humanitarian non-governmental organizations.

He expressed support for the Court’s legal foundations, namely the principle of complementarity.  While it should not be the one to prosecute all crimes, the crisis had obstructed Libya’s own efforts to effectively serve justice.  In fact, various sources had cited “worrisome data” regarding gaping holes in the Libyan system.  He, therefore, highly doubted that the conditions in Libya were solid enough for equitably conducting legal proceedings for the two cases at hand, yet the International Court’s jurisdiction to do so had been contested.  Yet, the Libyan side had not provided convincing information on its national investigations, and he suggested the Court should look into that.  Also of concern was the lack of information regarding the detention of the Court’s staff.  Finally, he did not understand the value added from the Council’s interactive dialogue yesterday, as he had not received responses to his questions.

SHEN BO ( China) said important progress had been made in Libya’s political transition and he expressed hope that Libyans would continue to tackle the many challenges ahead to achieve national reconciliation.  The international community had been called on to provide support to those efforts.  China’s position on the Court remained unchanged.  It supported Libya’s efforts to enhance the rule of law, establish a sound legal system and punish serious crimes.  He hoped the Court, in activities mandated by Council resolutions, would play a positive role in Libya’s reconstruction and political transition.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) expressed support for the analysis of the Court’s prosecutor in the cases against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, and stressed that it was critical for the Libyan Government to cooperate with the Court and the Office of the Prosecutor.  The Court’s work should have support from all States, including those that were not yet parties to the Rome Statute, as it must be ensured that the Court and Office of the Prosecutor were able to work without any impediment.  The involvement of the Libyan authorities in the Court’s processes was a positive sign, he said, adding that whatever the decision on the admissibility of two the cases, the Office of the Prosecutor must remain involved in both.

He said that while the admissibility decisions were pending, steps should be taken to preserve evidence and protect witnesses.  In accordance with Council resolution 1970 (2011), Libya was obliged to cooperate with the Court and the Office of the Prosecutor; many requests in that regard had not yet received a satisfactory response.  Guatemala believed that the Council must continue to supervise the situations referred to the Court, as well as obstacles it might encounter.  Allegations of other crimes in Libya must also be investigated.

PAUL MCKELL (United Kingdom) said that security and justice sector reform were critical for Libya’s return to stability, and he welcomed ongoing efforts to investigate and bring to justice all members of the former regime that were guilty of crimes.  All guilty parties should be pursued, no matter who they were, and he  urged Libya to abandon plans to provide some with amnesty.  The United Kingdom was providing assistance to Libya by sending a security sector reform adviser to the country, with the aim of improving security and strengthening the rule of law.

He welcomed the level of cooperation with the Criminal Court in the matter of the arrest warrants issued against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, and noted that such continued cooperation was essential.  The Court and the Libyan authorities should work together on the admissibility challenges.  It was also important that the detentions of both Mr. Qadhafi and Mr. al-Senussi were consistent with international law, which included respect for their human rights and access to legal advice.  The United Kingdom was a strong, principled supporter of the Criminal Court, and that it would provide support when requested.

EUGÉNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) was encouraged by Libya’s efforts to rebuild its institutions with international support.  At the same time, it was concerned about the proliferation of weapons and terrorist activities, which were undermining the democratically elected Government’s credibility.  Overall, the trend was positive and Libya should be encouraged on its road to reconciliation and recovery.  In such work, it was important that the judicial process was conducted by Libyans themselves.  From Rwanda’s experience, justice must be done “close” to the victims.  He hoped the Al-Senussi and the Al-Islam Qadhafi cases would eventually be handled by Libyan courts and, thus, he urged the Criminal Court to ensure that suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity were brought before Libyan jurisdictions.

More broadly, he said the fight against impunity must be at the heart of the Council’s work.  While a robust international criminal justice system must complement national efforts, international criminal justice must be free from international interference and uphold the principle of sovereignty.  Rwanda did not believe the Court had lived up to that aspiration.  It had been selective in its methods of investigating and prosecuting crimes.  In a note verbale to the Council, of 2 May, Kenya had made a compelling case against the Prosecutor’s work methods.  He hoped the Council would table that issue, with a view to addressing growing concern among States, including signatories of the Statute.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said Libya had escaped an era of despotism to one of building democracy, and the world had welcomed that positive transformation.  Libya had faced “intractable” difficulties, notably human rights violations.  Libyan authorities had made national and international commitments to address security, humanitarian and economic challenges.  It had placed a priority on the judiciary to issue laws that guaranteed transitional justice and the formation of a national reconciliation committee to investigate human rights violations.  Authorities had said they would not protect the suspects of crimes against humanity or allow impunity.  Indeed, they were undertaking serious investigations.

Further, he noted, the authorities had expressed their readiness to cooperate with the Court, in line with Libya’s own laws.  Efforts to investigate those in the former leader’s entourage did not run counter to cooperation with the Council.  Libya was filing admissibility challenges, in line with the Rome Statute.  He welcomed the trend in the Council to prioritize the Libyan judiciary.  “The new Libya is qualified to respond to all aspirations of Libyans,” he said, reiterating Morocco’s full support for the Libyan Government in a delicate security situation.  He urged the Council to assist Libya, with a view to enabling the country to address challenges in disarmament, security, border monitoring, and the reintegration of former soldiers in a manner that respected human rights.

TOFIG MUSAYEV ( Azerbaijan) said that, while it was not a party to the Rome Statute, the protection of civilians and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as the fight against impunity, were the responsibility of the international community as a whole.  He stressed the irreversibility of the transition to democracy, and commended the Libyan Government for its cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor and its engagement in the Court’s judicial processes.  The strength of the Rome system lay in the complementary actions of the Court and its partners, he added.

Noting the admissibility challenge of the cases against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, and the request to prosecute them at the national level, he said it was crucial for the Government to cooperate with the Criminal Court and provide it with all necessary information in those cases.  Azerbaijan took note of the Prosecutor’s update on gender crimes, and on the matter of those individuals outside Libya who continued to pose threats.  Cooperation was crucial in that regard, and it was important to demonstrate that justice remained a top priority and that all individuals who committed crimes would be held accountable in the legal system.

MARIA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) was pleased to note that the international community no longer upheld a paradigm of “justice versus peace”, and that it was, instead, pursing a course in which the two principles were complementary.  It had also become clear that de jure and de facto amnesties did not lead to peace, but instead, to the dissemination of the message that serious crimes could be tolerated.  Bearing witness to Argentina’s own experience, she said that today, through due process, 378 of those responsible for crimes against humanity in her country had been prosecuted.  “Through our painful experience […] we can say that with justice, truth and memory you can achieve social reconciliation and lasting peace,” as well as a true democracy, she stressed.

Argentina believed that cooperation with the Criminal Court should not be limited to the State where a situation occurred or to States parties to the Rome Statute, and it regretted that the Council had not reflected in clearer terms the obligation of all Member States to cooperate.  Regarding the cases of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi, she called on the Libyan authorities to comply with the decisions of the Court regarding admissibility.  Beyond the Court’s actions, the Libyan Government should formulate and put into practice a global strategy for combating impunity and achieving justice.  Among other things, she urged the implementation of a mechanism, as a specific subsidiary body of the Council, for following up referrals made by the Council.  In both Libya referrals, expenses would not be defrayed by the United Nations, but by the Statute’s parties.  The fight against impunity was a responsibility of all Member States, as was the commitment to provide the Court with the resources needed to fulfil its functions.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said the formation of a democratically elected Government in Libya was a significant achievement, but recent events in Tripoli had confirmed that the country faced daunting challenges.  The Prosecutor’s report had noted Libya was acting in line with the Rome Statute in challenging the admissibility of the cases against Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and Abdullah al-Senussi.  He hoped that Libya’s request to try those cases would be positively considered.  The Court would like to monitor those trials, if conducted in Libya.  Monitoring would be done in accordance with arrangements with the Government, allowing Libya to demonstrate its commitment to hold fair trails.

He called on Libya to maintain its engagement with the Court and provide information for considering those cases.  He also encouraged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to fully cooperate with the Court, as well as with Libya, to investigate the civilian casualties during the conflict.  He underlined the need to conduct impartial investigations of other alleged crimes committed in Libya, adding that national judicial mechanisms could ultimately be more efficient and cost effective in dealing with such crimes.  Thus, strengthening the Libyan judicial system was essential, and the international community should extend support to that end.  Achieving a balance between justice and peace could best be accomplished through national mechanisms and institutions.

ROSEMARY DI CARLO ( United States) said Libya continued to make progress under its first democratically elected Government in more than 40 years.  There were clearly tough challenges ahead, from building political consensus to protecting human rights.  Justice and accountability would remain central to success and the United States and others were ready to assist in reforming justice institutions, strengthening the rule of law and advancing human rights.  The Al-Senussi and Al-Islam Qadhafi proceedings were reaching critical stages and she urged Libya to continue adhering to its international obligations, including under resolution 1970 (2011).

She went on to voice concern about allegations of rape and sexual violence, saying accountability for those and other serious crimes was critical.  Whatever the outcome of the admissibility proceedings, Libya needed to bolster its domestic accountability structures.  It must not tolerate impunity for serious crimes, and it should act to ensure transitional justice in line with its human rights obligations.  Further, it must develop and implement a transitional justice strategy that uncovered the truth about past abuses and addressed their root causes.  Only by reckoning with its past could Libya realize the promise of its future.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said that there could never be enough stress put on the principle of accountability or on the fight against impunity, which were at the centre of the international community’s concerns.  Libyan authorities should fully cooperate with the Criminal Court and the Office of the Prosecutor to provide all necessary assistance.  It was a pity that a visit by the Prosecutor to Tripoli — which would deepen cooperation — had not yet taken place.  Nevertheless, it was important for the Prosecutor to have the support she needed from all States, even those not party to the Statute, without preconditions or limitations.

She called for an assessment as to whether the Libyan judicial system was impartial enough to try the cases referred to the International Criminal Court and whether it had the capacity to fully prosecute those cases in accordance with international standards.  Regardless of the decision on admissibility, the Office of the Prosecutor must be informed of all steps taken on those cases.  When it came to allegations of crimes committed by rebel forces, Luxembourg shared concerns about allegations in areas of the country to which the Prosecutor still had no access.  In that vein, arbitrary arrests, violence in detention centres and forced disappearances must stop, and perpetrators must be held accountable.  The Libyan authorities should draw up and implement a comprehensive strategy to put an end to, and prosecute, all crimes.  “Justice must be done.  Impunity cannot be tolerated.  Those responsible must be brought to justice,” she concluded.

MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said that, despite progress, violent acts, including those against diplomatic missions, continued in Libya.  Nevertheless, Government officials had continued to assert Libya’s readiness to pursue democracy, and it spoke well of the country that it wished to shoulder its responsibilities regarding cases referred to the Criminal Court.  Libya, pursuant to Council resolution 1970 (2011), must respect the final decision by the Court regarding the admissibility challenge.  Its cooperation thus far was an example for other countries, such as Sudan, which had refused to engage in the Court’s judicial processes.

He said France fully supported the actions of the Prosecutor to pursue alleged perpetrators of crimes, including rape as a weapon of war, in particular, those who might be found outside Libya.  Resolution 1970 (2011) remained an example of the Council’s ability to act in a unified and swift manner; in that regard, the international community, the United Nations and regional organizations had together condemned the heinous crimes committed.  Today, follow-up must be provided to that approach.  All parties should be ready to deal swiftly with the Court’s requests for cooperation and for information in the framework of sanctions committees.

KODJO MENAN ( Togo), speaking in his national capacity, said Togo’s position vis-à-vis the Rome Statute and the Court remained unchanged.  He was pleased that contact between the Court and Libya had resumed, following national elections and the March appointment of the new Prosecutor-General.  Discussions would only be productive if they advocated the prosecution of criminal perpetrators, in Libya or outside the country.  Prosecution — whether under the Court or national jurisdiction — could not target just one party; it must target several.  The Court must ensure that its cooperation with Libya corrected the inadvertent effects that any amnesty law might have in protecting the perpetrators of crimes who also fell under the Court’s jurisdiction.

On the issue of complementarity, he said the prosecution and handing out of sentences for perpetrators was the primary responsibility of Libyan authorities.  Its challenge of the cases under the Rome Statute was “exemplary” and a good example of complementarity.  Unlike the Al-Islam case, it appeared that the Al-Senussi case could establish that the Libyan Government was prosecuting the same case as the Court.  Only the decisions of the relevant bodies could determine that issue, and he awaited decisions by the Court’s various branches.  Any decisions regarding admissibility would not be seen as a general evaluation of the Libyan legal system.  It would indicate the national justice system’s ability to provide due process for victims.

As for ongoing investigations, he said gender crimes must be prosecuted.  He was pleased that the fifth report had confirmed that investigations were under way.  He hoped that prosecutions would be started against perpetrators.  He also voiced concern about reports by human rights groups concerning torture against persons of African origin, given their alleged association with the Qadhafi regime.  Also worrying were rebel actions in Tawergha, and he called on Libya to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice and that it cooperated fully with the Court.  In sum, he said Libya should explore transitional justice as a way to address political legacy, with a view to promoting national reconciliation and peace.  No effort should be spared in helping Libya attain those goals.

IBRAHIM DABBASHI ( Libya), recalling the “excellent” nexus between the Court and the Libyan judicial authorities, said:  “This relationship is based on complementarity and cooperation,” adding that both sides were guided by the common goal of administering justice and denying impunity.  Discussions between the Court and the Libyan Prosecutor-General had paved the way for shifting the relationship to an actual partnership in the framework of complementarity, through the suggestion that the Prosecutor-General would investigate people accused of perpetrating heinous crimes and were now outside the country.

Turning to the cases of Al-Senussi and Al-Islam Qadhafi, he reiterated that the circumstances of arresting those individuals were in full conformity with international criteria.  Prosecuting them — and all those responsible for heinous crimes — would be done in line with international legal principles.  All technical arrangements had been made to start trials and, in that context, he reiterated Libya’s interest in eliminating any links with the practices of the previous regime.  Indeed, judicial authorities had insisted upon conducting impartial, transparent and objective trials for those all who had committed serious human rights violations during the 42-year Qadhafi regime.

Regarding the rule of law, he said “no amnesty will be given to any perpetrator of serious crimes”, other than by general arrangements of transitional justice and national reconciliation, and with the consent of the victims or their relatives, in a manner that led to fostering peace and “letting bygones be bygones”.  Libya viewed the Court as a necessary and important partner in achieving justice and preventing immunity.  He hoped all States would cooperate with Libyan authorities and the Court in their conduct of investigations and would not to provide the accused with safe haven or invoke “flimsy” pretexts to delay their surrender.  Delaying their appearance would only deprive Libya of addressing claims made against them and impede the delivery of justice.

“Many Qadhafi officials accused of crimes are still free, exercising their daily work and even their conspiracies against Libya,” he insisted, recalling that paragraph 8 of Security Council resolution 2040 (2012) outlined that all States were obliged to cooperate with Libyan authorities to end impunity.  Non-response to calls for surrender by States sheltering them would be viewed as impeding justice.

Turning to events involving Libyan ministries and other pressures brought to bear on the general congress for political segregation, he said that those had stemmed from rash actions by youngsters following the fall of a dictatorship.  It was natural that, in such a situation, Libya was witnessing immature political actions and party “wrangling” guided by national ambitions, not necessarily ideological ones.  But such actions would not undermine Libya’s political transformation, as the Transitional Government was not in a weak position to treat such behaviour.  It was aware of the daunting challenges ahead and behaving wisely vis-à-vis the difficulties before its fledgling institutions, deciding not to use force against the “excessive” force shown by armed groups pretending to be under the authority of the Ministry of Defence.

Indeed, those groups were not aware of military rules or instruments, he continued, stressing that the Government was committed to preventing Libyan infighting and would not use legitimate force – except in cases of serious legal violations or demonstrable threats to Libyans’ lives.  The Government was keen to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.  In closing, he said the transitional phase in Libya was a “decisive and momentous” one for Libyans.  The Transitional Government faced a number of complex and intertwined challenges that required patience, with a view to creating the conditions for carrying out justice.  There was no doubt that, with the Council’s capacity-building assistance, Libya would transform into a real democracy.

Replying briefly to the questions and comments raised by Council members, Ms. BENSOUDA said that, while the Council was not discussing the situation in Kenya, she was compelled to respond to comments made by the representative of Rwanda on that matter.  The International Criminal Court would continue to respect the sovereignty of all States, but it would never shy away from investigating crimes, regardless of the status of the accused.  The information contained in Kenya’s letter to the Council was incorrect, and it represented a “backdoor attempt” to politicize the matter; the Court reserved the right to respond to it in due course.  It was for the presidency of the Court to assign and reassign judges in different chambers.  She, therefore, rejected, as an unfounded attempt to discredit the work of the Court, any insinuation of selectivity.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.