Speech

"The people of Libya deserve a better future."

Statement by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor at the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations, on the situation in Libya.

Libya

Thank you Mr President.

I would like to thank the Prosecutor for her report and her briefing today. And the United Kingdom wishes to reiterate its support for the work of the Prosecutor and for the role that the ICC plays in bringing those responsible for serious crimes of international concern to account.

Mr President,

Libya needs urgent progress towards full political reconciliation now more than ever. The scale of the crisis facing the people of Libya is grave. It is a crisis where the fighting continues year after year and where international humanitarian law violations and human rights violations and abuses continue unabated. The people of Libya deserve a better future.

Establishing effective governance is key: Libya’s legitimate political institutions need to work together to break the political deadlock which is prolonging instability and the suffering of the Libyan people. Libya’s political and social groups need to seize the momentum offered by the welcome meetings between Prime Minister Seraj and Marshall Heftar earlier this week to set out a path towards Libyan reconciliation and unity. Security, stability and prosperity can only be achieved when the country’s leaders choose to get together and work out a plan for the common benefit of the Libyan people.

Mr President,

The UK welcomes the Prosecutor’s ongoing efforts to investigate alleged crimes despite the practical difficulties in conducting investigations inside Libya.

The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned at the continued violence between armed groups across the country – and particularly by reports of human rights abuses and violations by combatants in Benghazi and elsewhere, including attacks on innocent civilians and on medical facilities. There is no justification for attacking medical facilities protected under international humanitarian law.

We note that the Prosecutor is giving consideration to opening an investigation into alleged criminal acts against migrants in Libya. Such alleged crimes provide further justification for tackling migration ‘upstream’, so that the international community helps create more opportunities in migrants’ home countries.

The United Kingdom is grateful for the Prosecutor’s update on the cases of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi. We support the Prosecutor’s call for the Libyan authorities to do everything possible to ensure transfer of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to the ICC, and to consult the Court on any problems that might impede his transfer to The Hague. We look forward to the outcome of the Court’s consideration of the UNSMIL report on the domestic proceedings against Mr al-Senussi.

The United Kingdom commends the continued engagement of the Libyan Prosecutor-General and the Libyan Representatives to the Court. We call on other States and relevant international organisations to assist the Libyan authorities in their efforts to build the rule of law in Libya. We thank the Prosecutor for the update on allegations of torture committed against Saif al-Islam Gadaffi in Al-Hadba prison, and we welcome the fact that one of the accused who had been returned to his position at the prison, has now been removed.

We also thank the Prosecutor for her briefing on the case against Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, who is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Libya in 2011. We fully support the Court’s call for cooperation, from members of the Council, Libya and all states, to provide information to facilitate a swift arrest of Mr Al-Tuhamy and ensure his surrender to the ICC. It is crucial that he and other individuals responsible for war crimes in Libya do not become fugitives from justice.

In conclusion, the United Kingdom understands the financial and resource constraints faced by the Prosecutor’s Office and the need to ensure adequate funding for the Court’s Libya investigations. We are committed to working with others to ensure the Court has the resources necessary for its work, while ensuring that the ICC budget is as streamlined as possible.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 8 May 2017