Ensuring those who commit human rights abuses in Libya do not evade justice for their crimes

Statement by Susan Dickson, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN, at the Security Council Briefing on the International Criminal Court and Libya.

International Criminal Court (UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

Madam President,

I thank the Prosecutor for her very clear and concise fifteenth report and her briefing to the Security Council today. The work and focus of the International Criminal Court on Libya is extremely important in tackling impunity and making accountable those responsible for serious crimes of international concern, and the Court’s work has the full support of the United Kingdom.

The Prosecutor’s latest report makes clear why the situation in Libya remains deeply troubling. The continued political divisions in Libya have only benefitted certain armed groups intent on criminality, groups which have created an environment of lawlessness, intimidation and fear. This situation underscores the urgent need to break the political deadlock and to bring peace to Libya and its people. It is vital that all parties engage in good faith with the United Nations-led political process.

Madam President,

We must ensure that those who have committed, and are still committing, human rights violations and abuses in Libya, including unlawful killings, do not evade justice for their crimes. The UK has strongly supported resolutions at the Human Rights Council aimed at increasing accountability, and we fully endorse the ICC’s efforts in parallel. The UK also reiterates our call for all parties to cooperate with the ICC in relation to the arrest warrant for Mahmoud al-Werfalli, and for all those- committing acts amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity to be investigated and held accountable, no matter which side they are on.

The current cycle of violence and impunity must be stopped.

The recent Mission by the Office of the Prosecutor to Libya is an important step, strengthening the focus of scrutiny on those who have acted with impunity. In this regard, we welcome the co-operation of UNSMIL and the Office of the Prosecutor-General in Tripoli with the visiting OTP Mission. We also welcome the Office of the Prosecutor’s work with Member States, national authorities and judiciaries, interested European institutions and the Libyan Prosecutor-General’s Office, following the reports of the appalling mistreatment - and even enslavement - of migrants, to investigate and prosecute these crimes. At the same time, we appreciate the resource constraints under which they are operating in relation to these investigations.

We are grateful for the Prosecutor’s update on the cases against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Abdullah Al-Senussi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled. We fully support the Court’s call for cooperation from members of the Council, Libya and all states, on the individuals who remain at large for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya in 2011.

It is crucial that Member States and relevant international organisations work to assist the Libyan authorities in their efforts to build the rule of law in Libya. We, along with our international partners, will continue to work with Libya to provide it with the support it needs to meet the challenges it faces. At the same time, the United Kingdom, as a strong principled supporter of the ICC, will continue to provide our full support to the Prosecutor and her team.

I thank you Madam President.

Published 9 May 2018